Juvenile Justice-eng

One of the main areas of intervention of Defence for Children International has always been Juvenile justice.

DCI approach on Juvenile Justice:

Indeed, internationally, Defence for Children International has participated actively in the drafting of important international instruments on juvenile justice. In addition to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Defence for Children International has collaborated to write the Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (Beijing Rules, 1985) Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency (the Riyadh Guidelines, 1990) and Rules for the protection of young people deprived of their liberty, (Havana Rules, 1990).
legendeguerreboutons Guerre_des_boutons"La guerre des boutons", film of Y.Robert

DCI ITALY approach on Juvenile Justice:

Defence for Children International Italy has undertaken, since its origin, research on the national context about juvenile justice. More precisely, about detention facilities but also on alternatives to detention, about prevention and the ways to escape from the justice system.
Juvenile Justice context in Italy:
From a legislative point of view, Italy is one of the greatest examples of implementation of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child and gives rise to a system that protects the right of the child to grow up and develop its personality and talents in order to be prepare for an active life as an adult.
In this sense, the offence is regarded as primarily an expression of discomfort, difficulty in psycho-physical development, which are then a point of departure for an educational project. On paper, the principle of best interests of the child (art. 2 CRC) turns out to be the base of the Italian juvenile justice system.

Today, however, the juvenile justice system in Itlay seems to have lost much of its effectiveness, since the child population involved has completely changed: a law designed for Italian minors is now applied in most cases to foreign minors, often unaccompanied and undocumented. Consequently, in many cases, the law is unenforceable, especially as regards the practical implementation of alternative measures to prison.

Today, in Italy, the number of children reported to the foreign attorney is around 30%, while the number of foreigners detained in Juvenile Penal Institutions reaches 45%.

This gap shows how the principle of the use of imprisoment as a last resort, contained in the Beijing Rules on Juvenile Justice and fundamental pillar of the Italian law, is now ignored in practice, in respect of this particular category of minors.
Furthermore, the majority of Italian and foreign children detained in IPM are awaiting initial judgment: the prison is then used in most cases as a precautionary measure, as opposed to the CRC which considers detention only as last resort.
While public discussion remains around lowering the minimum age of criminal responsibility and tightening of sanctions, prevention policies are often overlooked and funding in this sense does not reduce it.
In many cases, the children involved in the criminal justice system are repeat offenders because after criminal proceedings, the coming back to the real world is rarely accompanied by valid reintegration projects.

Defence for Children International Italy fits into this context, with the aims to increase knowledge of this phenomena and to defend the rights of the children.

DCI Actions on Juvenile Justice:

The main objective of the International Program on Juvenile Justice of Defence for Children International is to make globally public the situation of children who are in conflict with the law and to promote actions to ensure that juvenile justice is considered as a priority in political agendas at international, regional and local level with the aim of strengthening national systems and thereby ensure the rights of children and adolescents who are in conflict with the law.

The actions taken to defend the rights of these children take various forms:

  • advocacy and political pressure
  • direct interventions
  • monitoring
  • information sharing and collaboration among the various actors working in this area
  • analysis and research
2013 | ® Defence for Children International Italia

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