Children in custody – trends and patterns from 2015-19

Date: 11th March 2020
Category: Children in conflict with the law

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Analysis of four years of data reveals a downward trend in the number of children in custody and raises a number of questions around conditions for those still in custody, sentence length, remand, and data collection. 

Article 37 of the UNCRC states “the arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child…shall be used only as a measure of last resort”. The data pattern suggests progress in reducing the number of children and young people in custody over the past four years.

CYCJ’s analysis suggests several factors are likely behind the reduction, including the impact of the Whole Systems Approach, efforts to ensure custody is only used where there is no alternative option and potentially the presumption against short term sentences.

The analysis flags a number of questions and concerns, including that available data is incomplete as we do not know how many children are remanded or sentenced in secure care as this information is not publicly available.