The Rigidity and Density of Discipline in Youth Rehabilitation Centres … Or Rules That Counter Rights
The point of departure of legal regimes for child protection is the violation of a child’s fundamental rights by non-state actors. Children and youth who come under the custody of child protection authorities have experienced abandonment, physical and sexual abuse, neglect, violence; many exhibit serious behavioural problems. It is precisely because their families cannot protect them, or are the source of the violation of their rights, that the state intervenes. It does so to safeguard respect for their physical and psychological integrity and their right to health and education. And yet, the state-based institutions, designed for child and youth protection, have themselves become sources of rights violations. This chapter, drawing on the Quebec experience with youth detention centres, examines the ways in which institutional rules in Youth Rehabilitation Centres violate the basic human rights of some of the most vulnerable members of society – children and youth in state custody because they are considered in need of protection.