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Locked up

Inside: Life in Children's Homes and Institutions

WARNING: This website contains confronting and disturbing content, and names and images of deceased people. It may not be suitable for children under 15 years. Many of the historical images show an official, sanitised view which did not reflect reality. The faces of some adolescents have been blurred to protect privacy.


Locked up

A sign that says: Was a prison | child's prison.

Children could be locked up in reformatories for a range of reasons – including for criminal offences, for running away from a home, for being 'rebellious', for being 'in moral danger'. Girls who were victims of sexual crimes could also be incarcerated. Children in such places were vulnerable to treatment forbidden in adult gaols and unlawful at the time.  

Some children were locked up in adult psychiatric institutions – without there being a diagnosis of mental illness – for behaviour such as running away or being 'rebellious'.

'... incarcerated and brutalised far too many young people ...'