Children Speaking against Home Arrest: Decolonising Racial Penologies

Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Home arrest (HA), an alternative rehabilitative sentence to the more punitive disposal of imprisonment, is utilised in a range of ways by criminal justice regimes across the world. However, its implementation contains the potential for intimate political intrusion. This paper engages with forty-one testimonials gathered from Palestinian children, young people (aged 12–18 years) and their families, examining their experiences under HA in Occupied East Jerusalem. The analysis of their voices reveals how HA has affected children and young people’s intimate spaces, psyches and behaviour, and dismembered their relationships and sense of belonging. It simultaneously uncovers creative manifestations of freedom and the refusal to accept HA’s destructive consequences. The paper draws on children’s own understandings of HA as a violent technology of control, rethinks the role of social work in violent contexts and offers new insights on intervention. It suggests that in settler colonial militarised contexts, HA serves as a racialised disciplinary practice that poses major ethical challenges for critical social work practice. The paper concludes by underscoring the importance of encouraging social workers to engage with the anti-oppressive social work agenda and to examine their positions and ethics in politically complex realities.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1374-1391
Number of pages18
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.


  • Palestinian children
  • alternatives to punishment
  • home arrest
  • settler colonialism
  • unchilding


Dive into the research topics of 'Children Speaking against Home Arrest: Decolonising Racial Penologies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this