SWEDEN: From the Inside - Children and young people on life in police cells and in remand prisons

The Ombudsman for Children in Sweden has visited a total of 13 police cell blocks and remand prisons around the country, asking open questions about what happens and what a child thinks when he/she is deprived of his/her liberty.


The children we met describe how the solitary confinement causes severe damage. Self-harm and suicidal thoughts recur in several accounts. The treatment the children describe varies, but can be summarized as cold, impersonal or downright frightening. From the accounts we heard, it emerges that counsels have not always been present at interrogations. One reason for this is that the young people themselves waive that right because they believe they will be allowed to leave the police cell earlier that way.


We believe that several changes are necessary in order for Sweden to be able to live up to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. In this report we submit proposals for necessary measures to the government, which include:


  • Pretrial detention as a measure of last resort.
  • Introduce time limits.
  • No child shall be placed in police cells in their current form.
  • No child suspected of a crime shall be kept in solitary confinement during the investigation period.
  • Individualize restrictions for children.
  • All children shall always have access to public defense counsel from the first interrogation.
  • Establish an independent child representative.





pdf: http://www.barnombudsmannen.se/Global/Publikationer/From%20the%20inside.pdf



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