The CRC comes of age: assessing progress in meeting the rights of children in custody in Northern Ireland
This article focuses on the extent to which Convention rights are complied with regarding the treatment of children in conflict with the law in Northern Ireland, and in particular the rights of incarcerated children. Relevant children’s rights instruments and principles are identified to establish the benchmarks for this discussion. There follows discussion of the particular social, economic and political context which impacts upon the lives of children in conflict with the law in Northern Ireland. The legislative context for the detention of children in custody in Northern Ireland is explored, and the regimes in the Juvenile Justice Centre (JJC) for Northern Ireland and Hydebank Wood Young Offenders Centre (YOC) are assessed for compliance with children’s rights standards. Primary research conducted by the author and her colleagues with children in custody in Northern Ireland 2 and recent inspection and research reports form the basis for the analysis of the state of children’s rights in custody in Northern Ireland in the 21st century.