IPRT today welcomed the publication of an issue paper: “Children and Juvenile Justice: Proposals for Improvements” by Thomas Hammarberg, the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights.
The paper, published on 19 June 2009, raises a number of important questions regarding the administration of youth justice and the use of detention for children in conflict with the law. Its focus is firmly on the use of prevention, diversion, and sentencing practices which should ensure that detention of children is only ever used as a last resort and for the shortest time necessary. The Commissioner states, among other things, that youth justice policy that does not include measures aimed at preventing offending is considered deficient. His report also addresses the rights of children in care and calls on member states to make every effort to minimize the number of children removed from their families by providing adequate family support, therapy and assistance.
In July 2009, IPRT will be publishing its own research report outlining international standards relating to the detention of children and examples of best practice from Ireland and other jurisdictions. This research is designed to inform the debate about the detention of children in Ireland, and discussions about the design and practices in the new National Children Detention facility to be built at Oberstown Campus, Lusk. Mr Hammarberg’s report provides an extremely valuable addition to the sources of information that should inform such discussions. The full report can be accessed here.
“Repression is not the only answer to juvenile crime” -Commissioner Hammarberg