Human Rights for ‘Hard Cases’: Alternatives to Imprisonment for Serious Offending by Children and Youth

  • Nessa Lynch
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Prisons and Penology book series (PSIPP)


It is almost ubiquitous to have separate and specialized systems for children and youth in conflict with the law, but in even the most progressive of jurisdictions, children and youth convicted of serious violent offences such as homicide may be imprisoned. This chapter analyses the use of imprisonment in adult facilities against young offenders, particularly the imposition of the sentence of life imprisonment, through the lens of international standards for youth justice. This issue has received little attention in the literature, posing as it does conceptual challenges to norms of youth justice, such as best interests, and involving the balancing with interests such as public safety. There is a particular focus on New Zealand, but the analysis will have wider application.


Youth justice Children’s rights Imprisonment International standards 


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Table of Cases

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  3. P v R [2016] NZCA 128.Google Scholar
  4. R v DP & RP [2015] NZHC 1765.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Victoria University of WellingtonWellingtonNew Zealand

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