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Introduction

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 May 2022

Ursula Kilkelly
Affiliation:
University College Cork
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Summary

Child detention is a global phenomenon and, according to the United Nations Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty, up to 250,000 children are deprived of their liberty in the justice system globally every day (Nowak, 2019, p 251). Despite the minimum standards set by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) (Liefaard, 2008), the Global Study reports that children in detention are exposed to breaches of their rights, as a result of little or no education or healthcare and poor regard for their development. While overcrowding and inadequate material conditions are experienced by children in poorer countries, children's rights everywhere are challenged by the deprivation of liberty, with minority children and children living in poverty disproportionately impacted. The gravity and complexity of the issues documented in the Global Study also highlight a failure – for multiple complex reasons – to protect the rights of children in practice. Despite numerous international instruments setting out children's rights standards in detention, real challenges in their implementation continue to persist.

In Ireland, significant progress has been made in improving the treatment of children in detention in line with international standards, and the past five years in particular have witnessed the reform of child detention, with a child-centred and rights-based model becoming the standard for everyone aged under 18 years in detention. To enable this process, the national facility – Oberstown Children Detention Campus – has undergone substantial change, developing a modern, purpose-built facility, professionalizing the workforce and embedding new ways of working to ensure that the children enjoy their rights to care and education, healthcare and programmes that prepare them for their return home or for transition to prison on reaching 18 years. The adoption of a new Children's Rights Policy Framework, which places the child at the centre of the decision-making process, is a milestone in advancing children's rights in detention. The transformation has not been without difficulty, however. Resistance to change and severe operational challenges threatened the viability of the reforms at times. However, the adoption of a range of strategic, policy and practical measures have now combined to deliver a changed environment, in which the rights of children are emerging centre stage.

Type
Chapter
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Advancing Children's Rights in Detention
A Model for International Reform
, pp. 1 - 4
Publisher: Bristol University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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  • Introduction
  • Ursula Kilkelly, University College Cork, Pat Bergin
  • Book: Advancing Children's Rights in Detention
  • Online publication: 13 May 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.46692/9781529213249.002
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  • Introduction
  • Ursula Kilkelly, University College Cork, Pat Bergin
  • Book: Advancing Children's Rights in Detention
  • Online publication: 13 May 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.46692/9781529213249.002
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Introduction
  • Ursula Kilkelly, University College Cork, Pat Bergin
  • Book: Advancing Children's Rights in Detention
  • Online publication: 13 May 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.46692/9781529213249.002
Available formats
×