In May we released our new report “Children in Pretrial Detention: Promoting Stronger International Time Limits” which recommends that children spend no longer than 30 days in detention awaiting trial. Along with are partners from the University of Minnesota Human Rights Center and American University Washington College of Law International Human Rights Law Clinic, we had the opportunity to present the report to the international community.
We traveled to Geneva to brief the United Nations Committee Against Torture and the Committee on the Rights of the Child. The Committee Against Torture is particularly interested in pretrial detention because both children and adults are more likely to be tortured while in detention awaiting trial. The Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended that children spend no longer than six months in pretrial detention in their General Comment No. 10 in 2007. We are advocating for a 30-day limit with one 30-day extension under exceptional circumstances. Both Committees had many questions and were open to the recommendations.
Then, we presented the report at the World Congress on Justice for Children in Paris, France. Over 900 juvenile justice experts from all over the world attended.
The length of time that children spend in pretrial detention had not received much attention. But if juvenile justice systems were able to eliminate delays and arrive at case resolutions more efficiently, it would mean that hundreds of thousands of children around the world could return to their communities more quickly and begin to reintegrate back into society.