The danger to children of “criminal contamination” while in detention pending trial cannot be underestimated.1 Unfortunately, a large number of children are reported to be in pre-trial detention yearly. Sustainable Development Goal 16 (Goal 16), through indicator 16.3.2 seeks to reduce the number of unsentenced detained persons (including children). The essence of this indicator is that awaiting trial persons (for various reasons) should not be detained in custody unnecessarily. For children, such pre-trial detention can lead to devastating consequences such as loss of school time, mental and emotional breakdown and exposure to various forms of abuse. Having in mind the various negative consequences caused by detention, Article 37(b) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) prohibits unlawful and arbitrary arrest, detention or imprisonment of children and if lawfully used, it is only to be a measure of last resort and for the shortest period. The requirement in Article 37(b) that any detention of children be only as a measure of last resort and for the very shortest period of time can be used as an instrument to achieve the objective of Goal 16, indicator 16.3.2. In light of indicator 16.3.2, this article will thus discuss the impact of this CRC provision in reducing the number of unsentenced detained children in South Africa, thus contributing towards the achievement of this goal. The article will give a statistical analysis of the progress made by South Africa in reducing the number of unsentenced children detained in secure care and correctional facilities as a result of applying the CRC provisions.
|Number of pages||14|
|Publication status||Published - 25 Nov 2020|