Increasing number of children held on remand

Date: 9th December 2020
Category: Civil Rights and Freedoms


A joint blog has been published to raise awareness of the increasing number of children on remand in Scotland.  It advocates for the development of alternative provisions to remand, if Scotland is to fulfil its international human rights obligations.

Written by the Director of CYCJ, Claire Lightowler, and Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland, Bruce Adamson, they discuss children who are deprived of their liberty and state “depriving a child of liberty, is to deprive that child of his/her childhood.”

As of the 20th November 2020, 67% of children in a prison setting in Scotland were on remand, which means they have either not been tried or sentenced. Subsequently, 67% of children are at risk of bullying, abuse and violence which can compound existing trauma and adversity. Additionally, it can potentially introduce new traumatic experiences.

During COVID-19, children on remand have continued to experience extended periods without face to face contact with their families, social workers, or lawyers, and long periods in their cells with nothing to do. The Special Rapporteur on Torture stated that the imposition of solitary confinement of any length on children constitutes a cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment which violates Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Article 16 of the Convention Against Torture, and should be completely prohibited.

The blog concludes that Scottish Government should provide more appropriate, sensitive, child-focused and trauma-informed settings.  

  • Read the blog in full here.