The campaign to End Child Imprisonment has today published Principles and minimum expectations for children deprived of their liberty, which provides a framework for addressing harmful behaviour and supporting vulnerable children outside of prison settings.
The campaign is a coalition of organisations and individuals who propose alternatives to child imprisonment and minimum expectations and standards for cases where it is absolutely necessary to deprive children of their liberty. Article 39 is leading the campaign and their Director said:
The Government announced more than two years ago that it would phase out child prisons. Since then children have continued to suffer terribly in institutions which are incapable of meeting their needs and cyclically produce regimes of abuse, neglect and pervasive violence. It’s time for Ministers and opposition parties to treat this as an urgent matter of child protection and to commit to moving on from a penal system built in the Victorian age as an alternative to capital punishment and banishment to the colonies. No other area of policy concerned with children is so wedded to the distant past.
On today's framework, our Director Richard Garside said:
Imprisonment of children is unethical, harmful and perpetuates a system that punishes some of the most vulnerable in our society.
We need to work towards ending child imprisonment. Given that imprisonment is an ongoing lived reality for many hundreds of children, it is also vital that the government takes steps, in the here-and-now, to reduce the harms of imprisonment and ensure that imprisoned children are treated with compassion, dignity and respect.