Shift signalled over prison detention

The government is considering ending the UK’s reservation against a section of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child that opposes the detention of children in prison with adults.

Immigration minister Tony McNulty revealed last week that the government is reviewing whether there is a “continuing need” for the UK’s reservation against section 37(c) of the convention.

This states that all children deprived of their liberty should be treated “in a manner which takes into account the needs of their age”, and should be separated from adults “unless it is considered in the child’s best interest not do so”.

In a written answer to a parliamentary question, McNulty said the government had made “great progress” in separating under-18s from older prisoners, including providing new special units for 17-year-old girls.

A Home Office spokesperson said the review was part of the government’s wider report on its progress in implementing the convention, which it intends to complete by May 2007 and send to the UN next summer.


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