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Research report on pre-trial detention of juveniles published

On Monday, 27 November 2017 the report 'Pre-trial detention of juveniles in practice' has been published. The report is compiled by researchers from the departments of Child Law and Criminology of the Leiden University.

Commissioned by the Scientific Research and Documentation Center (WODC) of the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security, Yannick van den Brink LL.M, MA, dr. Hilde Wermink, Apollonia Bolscher LL.MCéril van Leeuwen LL.M, prof. dr. Mariëlle Bruning and prof. dr. Ton Liefaard conducted research into juvenile pre-trial detention practices. This has resulted in the report 'Pre-trial detention of juveniles in practice' (‘Voorlopige hechtenis van jeugdigen in uitvoering’).

Explorative and quantitative research

The report presents the findings of an explorative and quantitative study of pre-trial detention in juvenile criminal cases and the characteristics of the concerned juvenile suspects. Through studying case files, the research provides insights in the characteristics of juveniles who are brought before an investigative judge and shows how these characteristics relate to the judicial decision-making on juvenile pre-trial detention.

Population characteristics and judicial decision-making

The study provides new insights into the characteristics that are related to the decisions of the investigative judge and the pre-trial chamber on the suspension of pre-trial detention of juveniles. Are certain young people less likely to be suspended (i.e. released) than other young people? The research also shows how decisions about pre-trial detention of juvenile suspects relate to the final disposition of juvenile criminal cases and the extent to which pre-trial detention has a so-called  ‘preliminary judicial effect’.

Alternatives to pre-trial detention of juveniles

The results of this study can be used to better fulfill the obligations arising from Dutch law and international law with regard to juvenile pre-trial detention. Furthermore, an important basis is laid for specific policy choices aimed at the development of appropriate alternatives to pre-trial detention of juvenile suspects in juvenile custodial institutions.

PhD research

The research was conducted parallel to the final phase of Van den Brink's doctoral research, which also deals with pre-trial detention in juvenile criminal cases. In that research the pre-trial detention practices of juveniles are studied through qualitative methods and assessed in the light of international and European children’s rights and human rights standards. Van den Brink defends his PhD thesis on 25 January 2018.

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