print logo

New Policy Paper by CRIN encouraging debate on how to stop making children criminals

CRIN wants to encourage a debate on juvenile justice. In particular about the setting of minimum ages of criminal responsibility. Download here the policy paper>>

CRIN welcomes:

-Comments on this paper

-Information about:

relevant positive developments in state laws and policies

research demonstrating the damage done by criminalising children

-Ideas for further regional and international advocacy


CRIN wants to encourage a debate on juvenile justice which gets beyond pragmatism and compromise. In particular, Crin wants to provoke a new debate about the setting of minimum ages of criminal responsibility. Crin supports those who believe the way forward is to separate the concept of responsibility from that of criminalisation – and stop criminalising children.

Crin wants to work with other organisations and human rights advocates to encourage States to design systems which keep children out of the criminal justice system altogether, systems which renounce retribution and focus exclusively on children's rehabilitation, always with necessary attention to public safety and security.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child asserts the rights of every human being below the age of 18 years. The suggestion that States should define an age, within the Convention's definition of childhood, at which children can be criminalised is inevitably discriminatory. It is in conflict with the Convention's requirement that the child's best interests must be a primary consideration and the child's right to maximum possible development. It inhibits the logical development of fully rights-compliant systems to respond to offending by children.

Criminalising children causes persisting harm not only to the overall development of many children but also of human societies. It encourages a spiral downwards by children into further offending and increasingly violent offending which often extends into adulthood. It prevents societies moving on by upholding lingering beliefs in original sin and the need to beat the devil out of children.

CRIN aims to promote policy discussions – let us know if your organisation would like to be involved by contacting




Tags: ["children's rights", "Crin", "policy paper", "debate", "minimum age", "criminal responsibility"]
Published July 16, 2012 1:56 PM - Last modified Apr. 17, 2013 3:14 PM