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Management of Juvenile Offenders in Custody

The ICPA promotes the use of any form of incarceration for juvenile offenders as a last resort. Laws and rules for juvenile offenders should always be based on and refer to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice.

The following principles for managing juvenile offenders in custody are recommended for consideration by correctional agencies for inclusion in agency policy. They are to:

  • Use the arrest, detention or imprisonment of a juvenile offender only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest period of time, including pre-trial detention. Always use appropriate alternative measures first;
  • Treat the juvenile offender in custody or detention with humanity and in a manner which always and purposely takes into account the specific needs of children and young persons;
  • Always house juvenile offenders separate from adult offenders, unless it is considered in their best interest not to do so;
  • Treat the juvenile offender consistent with the generally accepted requirements for their age, gender and cultural requirements;
  • Keep juvenile offenders in smaller facilities or units and small groups, to enable individualized treatment, designed to support rehabilitation through the residential environment;
  • Provide juvenile offenders with the right to maintain contact with his or her family through correspon­­dence and visits, save in exceptional circumstances;
  • Manage detention facilities and regimes with a well-balanced mixture of correction, protection and treatment, coaching and education, guided by evidence-based practice;
  • Provide relevant formal education and an adequate access to the school system in the community;
  • Provide medical care through appropriate health facilities and services with special attention to age-related and development disorders;
  • Provide research based programs and interventions tailored to age, gender and development stages;
  • If appropriate, place different categories of juvenile offenders based on the provision of the type of care best suited to their particular needs and the protection of their psychical, mental and moral integrity and well-being; and
  • Keep solitary confinement of juvenile offenders to the absolute minimum for use only in extraordinary circumstances with the goal to return the individual to an open population setting as soon as safely possible.

This founding statement of ICPA was approved by the ICPA Board on 26 May 2015 and ratified by the members of the Corporation on the Annual General Meeting Melbourne 27 October 2015