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close this bookTechnical notes: Special Considerations for Programming in Unstable Situations (UNICEF, 2000, 490 p.)
close this folderChapter 13: Children in Detention
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View the documentPanel 1 - Detention of Children and Women Checklist for Field Visits

Panel 1 - Detention of Children and Women Checklist for Field Visits


General information:

· Total number of children detained in that specific site and in other detention sites of the country.

· Age and gender breakdown of those figures.

· Number of imprisoned women/men with their child/children.

· Number of imprisoned pregnant women.

· Number of children released?

· Number of deaths of children, women and men in prison and their causes.

· Age of criminal responsibility in the country.

· Collection of any specific legal provisions regarding the arrest, detention and transfers of children and women.

· Obtention of official clearance from civilian and military authorities to visit detention sites.

· Are there organizations such as ICRC or the Center for Human Rights carrying out inspection or monitoring visits of detention sites?

Information regarding arrest of children:

· Reason for arrest.

· When was/were the child/children arrested?

· Is the child within the age of criminal responsibility?

· If not, can immediate release be obtained?

· If not, can immediate conditional release be obtained?

· Was arrest ordered by a competent police or judiciary authority?

· Was the child informed of the reason(s) for his/her arrest?

· Was the family immediately informed of the arrest?

· Are family/legal representatives allowed to visit the child?

· Does the child, or do children in general, complain about violence used during their arrest? Do other inmates/persons/ICRC teams? Have NGO teams reported violence or abuse of children during arrest?

· Is the UNICEF officer allowed to speak with children not privately in the presence of a prison official/guard?

· Was a judge immediately informed of the arrest and is the case being followed by a judicial authority?

Information regarding detention conditions of children:

· Are children detained in facilities separate from adults?

· Do children have regular contact with their families? If not, how can contact be made and maintained?

· Are there any unaccompanied children under the age of criminal responsibility?

· In case of separate facilities, do children have contacts with adult inmates during the day? During the night?

· How many meals do children have every day? Can the meals be considered as nutritionally adequate (support from UNICEF Nutrition officers or ICRC experts should be sought)? Are there obvious cases of malnutrition?

· What are the general conditions of hygiene? Cleanliness? Is there at least 1 latrine for every 50 detainees?

· Is there adequate water supply? (quantity and quality should be checked)

· Is there a periodic health monitoring system?

· If not, can the national health system be extended to include this detention site? If not, can ICRC include the site in its visits list? If not, can UNICEF provide emergency support and start the design of a referral system towards the local hospital or health centre?

· Are children minimally clad and protected against the weather?

· What is the average area available in the sleeping quarters? Consider 2.5 square metres in sleeping areas per child as the humanly acceptable minimum, not including recreational areas, washing areas or other.

· What is the average volume of air available per child?

· Are there any complaints of violence, abuse, torture against/between children (including sexual violence)? What subsequent actions were taken by the detention authorities?

· Are there reports of circulation of drugs and/or weapons inside the detention facility?

· Do children have access to educational activities?

· Do children have access to recreational activities?

· Are there compulsory activities, such as working for persons other than themselves e.g. preparation of food for guards or prison authorities, etc.? What are the activities carried out and what are the working conditions?

· Are there legal advisors/representatives of the child capable of defending her/him in court?

· Are the sentences or decisions applicable to children oriented towards the quickest release possible and their social reintegration?

Information regarding the detention conditions of pregnant women and women/men imprisoned with their children?

· Is there age-appropriate care for children in prison with their mother/father? Health and nutritional follow-up?

· Are there regular medical visits for women over seven months pregnant? And are provisions taken for delivery?

· Can children be placed back into their families, or with a relative, or fostered with the approval of his/her father/mother?

· What is the age limit for children allowed to be in prison with their parents? Is that age above three or four years? If so, can it be reduced?

· Are there any children in prison with their father/mother older than three years of age (or the maximum age allowed in the country)?

Information regarding transfers of children from one facility to another:

· In the case of transfers of children from one facility to another, are the parents and legal representative informed prior to transfer?

· Is any judicial authority present during the transfer?

· Are UNICEF, ICRC or Human Rights Officers present during transfer?