NHRC: Juvenile Detention Centers empty out after proclaiming amnesty, but fill again within six to eight months

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 The 22nd Report of the National Human Rights Commission of Mongolia (NHRC) presents state of juveniles who violate the law.

For example, if the court considers that a juvenile who has committed a misdemeanor or felony crime for the first time before reaching the age of eighteen, that person can be disciplined without punishment and the disciplinary measures provided in the Criminal Code shall be applied. The Compulsory Educational Measures are a type of non-punitive state coercive measures and other measures of criminal responsibility used by the court to correct and educate juveniles who have committed crimes without isolating them from society.

In 2022, the Compulsory Educational Measures were taken for 96 children, and the sentences of 63 teenagers were postponed. Nationwide, 209 children were sentenced by the court in 2022, which is an increase of 60 percent compared to 2021. The NHRC considered that “The judge decides to receive a child who violates the law in an overly general manner, saying that ‘Take Compulsory Educational Measures to correct his or her behavior’, which means that it is not clear whether the child’s behavior will be corrected by taking one or several measures, and it is impossible to control whether the behavior has been corrected or not. After the Amnesty Law, Juvenile Detention Centers (JDC) become empty, but fill up again soon.

“...Children released from JDCs 411 and 407 under the Amnesty Law approved and 2009 are re-offended and imprisoned in adult prisons and 50 to 70 percent of whom are released three years after committing a crime again…”

91 percent of all children in JDCs have committed crimes such as shoplifting, assault, and robbery. Children released from JDCs are accepted by their families, while it is not clear who will receive and take care of children from orphanage after their release. When children are released from JDCs, they have nowhere to go, and their parents have no family income and live below the standard of living. Also, they do not have citizenship documents when it comes to work or school, so they have dropped out of school and have no professional education. In other words, they are not prepared to be accepted by society, and they are not accepted correctly, which affects them to commit crimes again. In 2022, 1,540 children were investigated for crimes, which is an increase of 67 percent compared to 2021.

Conclusions and suggestions

The Legal Committee for Children’s Rights should make a plan that meets the needs and requests of the child and ensure the effective provision of services stipulated in the law and regulations on child protection.

The NHRC considered that “The Legal Committee on the Rights of the Child provides services to prepare convicted children for their release into society before the end of their JDC sentence, prevent reoffending after release, study and work habits, prepare for family relationships, provide socialization services and to develop a special plan for each child with the management of administrative units, government and non-government organizations, and employers.” Also, the NHRC proposed the following suggestions.

  1. The budget necessary for the operation of the Children’s Rights Law Committee shall be included in the local budget;
  2. The plan specified in Clauses 4.4.4 to 4.4.8 of Article 4 of the “Composition, Organization, and Operation Procedures of the Legal Committee for Children’s Rights” should be prepared and implemented;
  3. To clarify how to monitor juveniles who have delayed the execution of a JDC sentence, how to ensure their right to school and education, and the procedures for cooperation with other child protection organizations.

Dashmaa D