Stop the violence! The overuse of pre-trial detention, or the need to reform juvenile justice systems. Review of evidence

A report issued by the Geneva-based Defence for Children International (DCI) relating to juvenile justice issues. One of the key activities in DCI’s juvenile justice programme is the production of 3 annual reports on this central subject. The two previous reports were entitled: “From Legislation to Action: Trends in Juvenile Justice Systems Across 16 Countries”, and “Ending Violence against Children in Juvenile Justice Systems: Strategies for Civil Society Engagement in the Follow-up to the UN Study”. The principal objectives of these annual reports are: (i) to raise awareness about children’s rights in juvenile justice at international and national level; (ii) to monitor and highlight achievements/challenges in selected national juvenile justice systems over a three-year period with particular attention to the impact of DCI’s interventions and to evaluate each State’s adherence to relevant international standards; (iii) to provide DCI national sections, other NGOs, experts, academics, students, practitioners and other stakeholders in the field of juvenile justice with an up-to-date information and advocacy tool; (iv) to highlight and share best practice models developed by State’s and DCI’s national sections for the implementation of articles 37 and 40 of the CRC and other relevant instruments, including in the areas of diversion, alternatives to detention, and prevention of juvenile delinquency; and (v) to build the capacity of DCI’s national sections in the areas of research, analysis and report-writing. This third report focuses on the over-use of pre-trial detention and illustrates the current situation in selected countries. It seeks to provide an objective view into what transpires in real life and propose a set of rules or standards to reduce the number of children who find themselves in these situations. The report opens with a background chapter presenting evidence on the reality and situation of pre-trial detention; the following chapter contains a presentation of relevant international rules; “Reality and rules” and the huge gap between them, is the subject of Chapter 4; the consequences of the over-use of pre-trial detention on children is presented in Chapter 5; Chapter 6 is dedicated to the solutions to these problems and presents good practices and recommendations; and Chapter 7 concludes this review of evidence.

Published 2010-10-14