Number of children in detention decreased by 2/3 over the last years
Chisinau, 11 November 2010 – The report “Assessment of Juvenile Justice Reform Achievements in Moldova”, developed by a team of local and international experts, was launched today by the Ministry of Justice and UNICEF.
The report mentions that during the last years, the number of children in detention decreased by 2/3 over the last years, but this change is mostly due to the Amnesty in 2008 and less due to the qualitative changes in the justice system.
According to the report, the law forsees a time limit for pre-trial detention - up to 4 months, but because there is no time limit on trials, in some cases the accused children of committing a crime wait for judge’s decision being in detention for a year or even more.
Physical condition in the juvenile prisons and pre-sentence detention facilities, especially in boy’s prisons, are inhuman, and disciplinary sanctions violate the international standards, the report mentions. Also, labor in the special school for delinquent children is not compensated, as, for example happens in penitentiaries.
„The prison doesn’t help a child to become better. Children in conflict with the law usually are vulnerable, their lives are out of their control. In order to be rehabilitated, they have to be helped to break the vicious circle of poverty, abuse and neglect”, UNICEF Moldova Representative, Alexandra Yuster, mentioned during the launch of the report „ Assessment of Juvenile Justice Reform Achievements in Moldova”.
According to Alexandra Yuster, one way to prevent the criminalization of youth is to eliminate the phenomenon of social exclusion of the most vulnerable.
Meanwhile, UNICEF Representative in Moldova mentioned the important steps which Moldova has made in reforming the juvenile justice system and its alignment to the European and international standards and reiterated the support that UNICEF will continue to provide to the Government for this purpose.
“Ministry of Justice is open to continue the reforms in juvenile justice system and counts on the support from its partners: civil society and international organizations. We need now this support more than ever, because besides reforming the system it is necessary to change the behavior of the people. The entire community has to understand that a child that was wrong can be recovered only helping him to reintegrate”, deputy ministry of Justice, Oleg Efrim declared during the launch of the Report.
In Moldova there is lack of programmes designed to assist children at a higher risk of offending. Authors of the report drag the attention to the fact that, with the exception of mediation, there is no other initiatives at community level that would address the causes of offending and assist the child to avoid re-offending.
In case of children under the age of criminal liability, involved in criminal behaviors, there are no intervention methods.
Due to UNICEF’s efforts and the visit of the prominent promoter human rights padvocate and former Minister of Justice in France, Robert Badinter in April 2010, the solitary confinement cells from Penitentiary no. 13, where children under pre-trial detention are kept, have been closed and the cells of the juveniles- renovated.
Another joint initiative of UNICEF and Ministry of Justice was the Video Workshop “One Minute Junior” that took place in October this year at the penitentiary for Children in Lipcani. The detained children learned how to make movies and have produced their own films in order to make their voices heard by the international community and by the decision-makers in Moldova. This initiative is enrolled in the series of measures to promote rehabilitation programmes and social inclusions of detained children developed by the Government of Republic of Moldova with the support of international donors and organization, including UNICEF.