The Green Party strongly supports the call by the Children’s Commissioner to repeal the law allowing youth to be held in police cells.
Green Party spokesperson for Justice Golriz Ghahraman says children and young people do not belong in police cells alongside adults.
“These are some of our most vulnerable children and young people and we must do everything we can to ensure they are treated with care and dignity when interacting with the justice system,” says Ghahraman.
“We know that holding children in detention with adults absolutely does cause long-term harm, in the case of the children held just over the past year, this has included five cases of self-harm whilst in custody. That does not reflect a rights-based justice system, focused on rehabilitation.
“Holding children and young people in police cells is one of our most pervasive human rights breaches in Aotearoa New Zealand, and it is clearly harming our children.
“We strongly support the call by the Children’s Commissioner to urgently repeal this law, and move to the use of safe, community-based homes for those children and young people who need it.
“Children and young people who come into contact with our justice system are likely to have experienced trauma, mental health issues, or have neurodevelopmental challenges – our system has failed them at multiple levels and we should not be harming them further.”