A proposed bill by the justice ministry will allow for the detention of young offenders aged 16 and over who have been found guilty of committing an offence.
The detention of young offenders in a specially designed area could be ordered by the family court after the adoption of the proposed bill, Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou said on Monday. He also stressed that this would be used as a last resort and only if alternative measures provided for by the law had been tried and failed.
“I do not want it to be linked to a prison. Child imprisonment is forbidden. It is a detention order in a child detention facility. The penalty of detention will be the extreme measure,” said Nicolaou.
The bill is expected to be voted on before May 2019, while authorities are already consulting possible locations for the detention area, which will be specifically made for the purpose of detaining 8-10 teenagers aged 16 and over.
Nicolaou clarified that the site would not be located within the Central Prisons area in Nicosia but would be close to it. He said that the custody of the children will be appointed to professionals specially trained in child delinquency, as well as in the human rights of children.
“Children will be able to do their schoolwork as normal and will spend the night under supervision,” he said.
Nicolaou added that the government is seeking to establish local crime prevention councils with a view to preventing, identifying and addressing the root causes of criminal behaviours, especially those of young offenders.