Secure Units for Children serve two main purposes. They can be to protect young people who are placing themselves or others at risk of harm through a range of behaviours. In these instances the unit is not used as punishment but to ensure the young people's safety. These secure units support the young person to address the issues which resulted in their stay and attempt to aid the young person in achieving positive outcomes in their future lives. Other secure units are where children who break the law are sent to punish them and also to protect other people if their offense put other people at risk. In secure units they try to stop re-offending. The units also educate children and there are activities for children to do but there are many limits and children usually can't do simple things like change the channel on the TV. The system is much like the prison system.
Children sleep in rooms which are usually secure, and are locked at night. Children are away from home but keep touch through visits. There are psychiatric secure units for children who are not stable enough to be in normal secure settings.