The Children’s Rights Alliance for England (CRAE) recently published a report presenting the views and experiences of over 120 children and young people across Europe on violence in custody and their suggestions for change. The Boltzmann Institute has been national partner for Austria in this project.
The project has been unique in its methodological approach, which is based on peer-to-peer interviews and group discussions among juvenile prisoners, and which aims to give young inmates themselves a voice in discussions about juvenile justice. Key research questions include: What kinds of violence was experienced? What are the responses of the inmates? How can violence be prevented? How do inmates define violence?
This project, which is co-funded by the EU’s Daphne III-Programme, is implemented in five European countries (England, The Netherlands, Romania, Cyprus, Austria). In Austria, 21 young prisoners have been directly involved in the project. The BIM has been supported by the Austrian victim support organisation Weißer Ring, the Institute for the Sociology of Law and Criminology and the Ministry of Justice.
The project consists of two main stages: a research and investigation phase, and a campaign and implementation phase. The investigation report is available for download, and is also available on the project website: www.violencefreecustody.org.uk. Furthermore, the comparative report of the second project phase is available on the project website and can be downloaded. This report describes the activities carried out by children and young people in the campaign teams.
Main findings include the need for more effective complaint mechanisms, targeted training for staff and judges to give young people a "second chance" before sentencing them to prison; for further information also see CRAE’s press release!
A summary concerning the findings of the project in Austria (in German) is available for download. The summary avoids technical terms and footnotes and uses an easier language in order to be accessible for younger readers.
Further information on this project can be found here.