“Kill the Bill’ – Not Consistent With the UN’s Convention on the Rights of Children

London: The new head of the body that oversees the youth justice system in England and Wales has hit out at the government’s plans to increase the time spent by children behind bars. The controversial legislation will be brought back to parliament next week. Claudia Sturt, the chief executive of the Youth Justice Board (YJB), told MPs and peers that the proposals in the police, crime, sentencing and courts bill were not consistent with the UN’s convention on the rights of children. She told parliament’s joint committee on human rights that there was no evidence that longer sentences improved rehabilitation and warned that increased time in custody was likely to lead to an increase in reoffending.

Sturt, who took up the post at the arms-length body, warned that the bill created a distinction between younger and older children with new proposals for minimum terms for 16- and 17-year-olds. “It doesn’t treat them as individuals and it doesn’t take into account their childhood and their developmental state, it treats them as though they’re adults,” she said. That’s at odds with the convention (UNCRC) that very clearly defines a child as anyone under the age of 18; there’s no sliding scale below the age of 18 at which it’s acceptable to treat someone more or less of a child. It’s everybody under the age of 18.

Read more: Jamie Grierson, Guardian,

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