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Civil and Human Rights

Submission Regarding Children in the Criminal Justice System to the United Nations Committee

Submission Regarding Children in the Criminal Justice System to the United Nations Committee

In violation of international law, all 50 U.S. states allow or require that children in conflict with the law be tried as adults in certain circumstances. Approximately 200,000 children are tried as adults each year and the majority of these children are transferred or excluded from juvenile proceedings without any hearing or individualized consideration of their circumstances, individual maturity or culpability.

United States Report Card: Youth Justice Issues

United States Report Card: Youth Justice Issues

In the spring of 2014, the U.S. was reviewed by the U.N. Human Rights Committee on its compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Following the review, the Committee issued Concluding Observations and Recommendations that expressed serious concern about a number of human rights issues, including youth justice.1 One year after the review, this report card describes actions taken at the federal and state level that respond to the youth justice recommendations and the urgent further actions that must be taken to bring the U.S. into compliance with its human rights obligations.

Youth in the Adult Court in the United States: Reduced Numbers, Persistent Racial Disparities

Youth in the Adult Court in the United States: Reduced Numbers, Persistent Racial Disparities

While the United States is almost alone in not ratifying the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), significant progress has been made on reducing the number of children prosecuted as adults, thereby bringing the U.S. closer to compliance with the CRC. However, the reduction in numbers of children tried as adults has not be accompanied by a reduction in racial disparities; children of color remain disproportionately affected by the practice of transferring children to the adult criminal justice system. Consciously and intentionally addressing this form of racial discrimination will be necessary for progress in respecting the rights of children in the United States to continue.

U.N. Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance

U.N. Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance

Numerous international declarations and conventions prohibit discrimination on the basis of race.1 Article 5 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination specifically requires States Parties to prohibit and eliminate racial discrimination in the enjoyment of various civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights. Unfortunately, in the past fourteen months, there has been an uptick in anti-immigrant rhetoric and enforcement in the United States, which has had a severe impact on youth of color.

Children Charged as Adults and Held in Adult Jails and Prisons

Children Charged as Adults and Held in Adult Jails and Prisons

In the United States, there is no constitutional provision or national law prohibiting states from subjecting children under age 18 to the adult criminal justice system, imposing adult criminal sentences, or incarcerating children in adult prison facilities. As a result, on any given day nearly 5,000 children are detained in adult jails and prisons.