Children in detention in the justice system: Africa

CRIN has compiled information published on the number of child offenders detained in the criminal justice system to highlight the information available as well as the gaps. All sources used in the compilation of this information are referenced and links are included. If you are aware of any errors or inaccuracies in this information, please contact us at info@crin.org.

   

    Algeria

Figures published by UNODC show a downward trend in the number of children detained in prisons, penal institutions or correctional institutions since 2005.

2005: 728 (6.1 per 100,000)

2006: 675 (5.7 per 100,000)

2007: 745 (6.3 per 100,000)

2008: 760 (6.4 / 100,000)

2009: not recorded

2010: 494 (4.1 per 100,000)

2011: 418 (3.5 per 100,000)

2012: 533 (4.3 per 100,000)

2013: 476 (3.8 per 100,000)

2014: 407 (3.2 per 100,000)

These figures are the number of children detained on a specific day and exclude detention for non-criminal purposes.
 

    Angola

In response to questions from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Angola provided figures on the number of children aged 16 to 18 who had been detained and classified as “inmates”.

2007: 473

2008: 504

2009 1,079

For full information, see written replies of the Government of Angola to the list of issues related to the consideration of the combined second to fourth periodic reports of Angola, CRC/C/AGO/Q/2-4/Add.1, para. 58.
 

    Benin

The World Prison Brief reports that as of 2008, 2.1 percent of the prisoners were young offenders. This would mean that 128 child offenders were detained in penal facilities as of 2008.
 

    Botswana

Figures published by UNODC show fluctuations in the number of children detained in prisons, penal institutions or correctional institutions since 2004, but that the rate of detention of children in these facilities was very high compared to other States in the region.

2004: 508 (64.1 per 100,000)

2005: 212 (26.7 per 100,000)

2006: 275 (34.6 per 100,000)

2007: 538 (67.6 per 100,000)

2008: 346 (43.3 per 100,000)

2009: 249 (31.0 per 100,000)

2010: 327 (40.4 per 100,000)

2011: 246 (30.1 per 100,000)

2012: not reported

2013: 253 (30.2 per 100,000)

2014: 431 (50.9 per 100,000)

These figures are the number of children detained on a specific day and exclude detention for non-criminal purposes.
 

    Burkina Faso

Figures published by UNODC are sparse with regards to Burkina Faso. The numbers of children detained in prisons, penal institutions or correctional institutions remained at a similar level in 2007 and 2011, the two years for which there are figures.

2007: 107 (1.4 per 100,000)

2011: 109 (1.3 per 100,000)

These figures are the number of children detained on a specific day and exclude detention for non-criminal purposes.
 

    Burundi

Figures published by UNODC show a sharp decline in the number of children detained in prisons, penal institutions and correctional institutions since 2006.

2006: 419 (9.7 per 100,000)

2007: 461 (10.4 per 100,000)

2008: 476 (10.5 per 100,000)

2009: 356 (7.6  per 100,000)

2010: 346 (7.2 per 100,000)

2011: 392 (7.9 per 100,000)

2012: 276 (5.4 per 100,000)

2013: 219 (4.1 per 100,000)

2014: 159 (2.9 per 100,000)

These figures are the number of children detained on a specific day and exclude detention for non-criminal purposes.
 

    Cameroon

Figures published by UNODC show an upward trend in the number of children detained in prisons, penal institutions and correctional institutions between 2005 and 2011, though in the last five years, detention figures have begun to fall.

2005: 583 (6.3 per 100,000)

2006: not reported

2007 not reported

2008: 676 (6.8 per 100,000)

2009: 863 (8.5 per 100,000)

2010: 587 (5.7 per 100,000)

2011: 916 (8.7 per 100,000)

2012: 897 (8.3 per 100,000)

2013: 865 (7.9 per 100,000)

2014: 793 (7.1 per 100,000)

These figures are the number of children detained on a specific day and exclude detention for non-criminal purposes.
 

    Cabo Verde

CRIN has been unable to locate statistics on the number of children detained in the criminal justice system in Cabo Verde.
 

    Central African Republic

CRIN has been unable to locate statistics on the number of children detained in the criminal justice system in the Central African Republic.
 

    Chad

The World Prison Brief reports that as of mid-2002, 3.3 percent of the population of prisoners in the main prison in N’Djamena were child offenders. If this were reflective of the proportion of children within the prison population nationally, 128 children would be detained nationally within the criminal justice system.
 

    Comoros

The World Prison Brief reports that as of October 2014, 5.2 percent of the prison population were child offenders. If this proportion were stable, it would mean an estimated 11 children would be detained in prisons in the country as of 2013.
 

    Congo, Democratic Republic of the

In 2010, the International Catholic Child Bureau counted 3,021 incarcerated children in the provinces of Kinshasa, Kasaï-Oriental and Kasaï-Occidental.
 

    Congo, Republic of

The World Prison Brief reports that as of September 2014, 4.4 percent of the prison population were child offenders. If this proportion were stable, it would mean an estimated 66 children were detained in prisons in the country as of 2013.
 

    Côte d’Ivoire

The World Prison Brief reports that as of November 2015, 1.7 percent of the prison population were child offenders. If this proportion were stable, it would mean an estimated 120 children were detained in prisons in the country as of 2012.
 

    Djibouti

The U.S. Department of State’s annual country reports on human rights in Djibouti reported that the central prison at Gabode generally held: fewer than 6 juvenile prisoners out of an estimated 500 in 2009; fewer than 6 juvenile prisoners out an estimated 600 in 2010; fewer than 20 juvenile prisoners out of an estimated 600 in 2011; fewer than 20 juvenile prisoners out of an estimated 550 in 2012; and fewer than 30 juvenile prisoners out of an estimated 600 in 2014.
 

    Egypt

During its 2010 report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (paras. 329 to 333), Egypt reported that 7,455 children were held in “care institutions” for “minor offences”, “criminal offences”, “deviancy”, “supervisory detention pending referral to a court” or “preventive custody”. The figures were provided by the Social Defence Administration.

The report also included figures from the Ministry of Social Solidarity for 2006, which was responsible for running 20 supervisory detention establishments, indicating that 3,054 people under the age of 18 were detained under these arrangements.
 

    Equatorial Guinea

CRIN has been unable to locate statistics on the number of children detained in the criminal justice system in Equatorial Guinea.
 

    Eritrea

CRIN has been unable to locate statistics on the number of children detained in the criminal justice system in Eritrea.
 

    Ethiopia

The U.S. Department of State’s 2012 country report on human rights in Ethiopia estimated that out of approximately 70,000-80,000 persons in prison, 600 were children incarcerated with their mothers; the 2010 country report estimated that 546 children were incarcerated with their mothers out of an estimated 86,000 prisoners.

A study by the African Child Policy Forum reported that 118 children were detained in 2001 and 389 children were detained in 2004.
 

    Gabon

The World Prison Brief reports that as of January 2014, 2.9 percent of the prison population held in Libreville central prison were child offenders. Figures for the population of this facility are unclear, but based on the information available, an estimated 51 children are detained in prisons in the country.
 

    Gambia

The World Prison Brief reports that as of November 2014, 1.3 percent of the prison population were child offenders. This would mean that an estimated 13 children were detained in prisons in the country.
 

    Ghana

The World Prison Brief reports that as of June 2015, 0.9 percent of the prison population was under 18. If this proportion were stable, it would mean that an estimated 131 children were in prison in 2014.
 

    Guinea

Figures published by UNODC are sparse for Guinea, but indicate that between 2007-8, the number of children detained in prisons, penal institutions and correctional institutions rose slightly.

2007: 182 (3.6 per 100,000)

2008: 193 (3.7 per 100,000)

These figures are the number of children detained on a specific day and exclude detention for non-criminal purposes.
 

    Guinea-Bissau

CRIN has not been able to locate figures for the number of children detained in the criminal justice system in Guinea-Bissau.
 

    Kenya

Figures published by UNODC show a gradual decline of the number of children detained in prisons, penal institutions and correctional institutions since 2008. As of 2013, figures had stabilised at around 649 children in this form of detention.

2008: 767 (4.1 per 100,000)

2009: 746 (3.9 per 100,000)

2010: 676 (3.4 per 100,000)

2011: 721 (3.6 per 100,000)

2012: 649 (3.1 per 100,000)

2013: 649 (3.1 per 100,000)

These figures are the number of children detained on a specific day and exclude detention for non-criminal purposes.
 

    Lesotho

Figures published by UNODC are sparse for Lesotho, but show a fluctuation in the number of children detained in prisons, penal institutions and correctional institutions between 2007 and 2009.

2007: 64 (7.1 per 100,000)

2008: 61 (6.8 per 100,000)

2009: 70 (7.7 per 100,000)

These figures are the number of children detained on a specific day and exclude detention for non-criminal purposes.
 

    Liberia

The World Prison Brief reports that as of 2011, 2.7 percent of the prison population in Liberia was under the age of 18, meaning that 43 children were held in prison as of that year.
 

    Libya

CRIN has not been able to locate statistics on the number of children detained within the criminal justice system in Libya.
 

    Madagascar

The World Prison Brief reports that as of December 2014, approximately 3 percent of the prison population in Madagascar was under the age of 18. If this proportion were stable, it would mean that an estimated 555 children were detained in prison in 2012.
 

    Malawi

The World Prison Brief reports that as of July 2014, 7.7 percent of the prison population in Malawi was under the age of 18. If these proportion were stable, it would mean that an estimated 942 children were held in prison as of 2012.
 

    Mali

The World Prison Brief reports that as of 2014, 1.3 percent of the prison population were under the age of 18. If this proportion were stable, it would mean that 65 children were held in prison as of 2013.
 

    Mauritania

The World Prison Brief reports that as of October 2014, 3.1 percent of the population were “minors”. If this proportion were stable, it would mean that an estimated 50 children were held in prisons as of 2012.
 

    Mauritius

Figures published by UNODC show that the number of children detained in prisons, penal institutions and correctional institutions showed a downward trend between 2003 and 2007, but began to rise sharply up until 2012.

2003: 94 (26.0 per 100,000)

2004: 72 (19.9 per 100,000)

2005: 56 (15.5 per 100,000)

2006: 52 (14.5 per 100,000)

2007: 50 (14.1 per 100,000)

2008: 56 (16.0 per 100,000)

2009: 60 (17.5 per 100,000)

2010: 53 (15.7 per 100,000)

2011: 65 (19.7 per 100,000)

2012: 80 (24.8 per 100,000)

These figures are the number of children detained on a specific day and exclude detention for non-criminal purposes.
 

    Morocco

Figures published by UNODC show increase in the number of children detained in prisons, penal institutions or correctional institutions between 2005 and 2007 of almost 250 percent and that the figures then fell sharply again to below their 2005 level by 2010.

2005: 1,577 (14.1 per 100,000)

2006: 2,165 (19.5 per 100,000)

2007: 5,481 (49.7 per 100,000)

2008: 4,956 (45.1 per 100,000)

2009: 1,050 (9.6 per 100,000)

2010: 1,068 (9.8 per 100,000)

These figures are the number of children detained on a specific day and exclude detention for non-criminal purposes.
 

    Mozambique

Figures published by UNODC show that figures for the number of children detained in prisons, penal institutions or correctional institutions fluctuated between 2004 and 2007 between 1,500 and 2,000, but more than doubled to almost 5,000 within a year.

2004: 1,571 (14.8 per 100,000)

2005: 2,049 (18.7 per 100,000)

2006: 1,836 (16.2 per 100,000)

2007: 2,039 (17.4 per 100,000)

2008: 4,818 (40.0 per 100,000)

2009: 4,946 (39.9 per 100,000)

These figures are the number of children detained on a specific day and exclude detention for non-criminal purposes.
 

    Namibia

During its 2011 report to the UN Committee on the rights of the Child (para 224), Namibia reported that the number of children held in prisons fell from 567 in 2000 to 297 in 2007.
 

    Niger

Niger’s Ministry of Justice reported in 2010 that there were 227 children in detention. This would mean that approximately 4.3 per cent of the prison population were children in 2010.

The Réseau Francophone de Diffusion du Droit noted a strong decline in the number of children in detention, from approximately 450 in 2000 to 250 in 2006/2007.
 

    Nigeria

Figures published by UNODC show a substantial and sustained rise in the number of children detained in prisons, penal institutions or correctional institutions in Nigeria between 2008 and 2013.

2008: 557 (0.7 per 100,000)

2009: 515 (0.8 per 100,000)

2010: 857 (1.1 per 100,000)

2011: 793

2013: 921 (1.1 per 100,000)

These figures are the number of children detained on a specific day and exclude detention for non-criminal purposes.
 

    Rwanda

In response to the written questions of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (para. 77), Rwanda reported that 148 detainees were held in the Nyagatare Rehabilitation Center in 2012 and that this accounted for all “juveniles” in detention.
 

    Sao Tome and Principe

The World Prison Brief reports that as of 2010, 8.2 percent of the prison population in Sao Tome and Principe were under the age of 18, meaning that 25 children were held in prison as of that year.
 

    Senegal

Figures published by UNODC indicate that the number of children detained in prisons, penal institutions and correctional institutions in Senegal has fluctuated between 2004 and 2010, between 125 at the low point and 176 at the high.

2004: 139 (2.5 per 100,000)

2005: 176 (3.1 per 100,000)

2006: 152 (2.6 per 100,000)

2007: 125 (2.1 per 100,000)

2008: 138 (2.2 per 100,000)

2009: 145 (2.3 per 100,000)

2010: 153 (2.3 per 100,000)

These figures are the number of children detained on a specific day and exclude detention for non-criminal purposes.
 

    Seychelles

Figures published by UNODC are sparse for the Seychelles, but indicate that in 2007 and 2008 there were no children detained in prisons, penal institutions or correctional institutions in the country.
 

    Sierra Leone

CRIN has not been able to locate statistics on the number of children detained in the criminal justice system in Sierra Leone.
 

    Somalia

The U.S. Department of State’s 2012 country report on human rights in Somalia reported that 39 juveniles were detained in Mogadishu Central Prison, out of a prison population of 950.
 

    South Africa

The number of children detained in prisons in South Africa has declined rapidly since 2003, from 4500 to 846 as of February 2011. (Figures reported by the Community Law Centre, Report on Children in Prison in South Africa, p. 3)
 

    South Sudan

CRIN has not been able to locate statistics on the number of children detained in the criminal justice system in South Sudan.
 

    Sudan

The World Prison Brief reports that as of March 2003, 2 per cent of the prison population were “juveniles”, meaning that an estimated 256 children would have been held in prisons in that year.
 

    Swaziland

Figures published by UNODC are sparse for Swaziland, but give some indication of the numbers of children detained in prisons, penal institutions or correctional centres in 2005 and 2006.

2005: 19 (3.4 per 100,000)

2006: 23 (4.2 per 100,000)
 

    Tanzania, United Republic of

During its report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2013 (para. 303), Tanzania reported that as of 2011, there were 1,400 children in adult prisons and detention facilities in the country. The figures were produced by the Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance, which conducted an inspection for children in detention facilities in the Tanzania.
 

    Togo

Figures published by UNODC are very sparse for Togo, but indicate that in 2012, 28 children were detained in prisons, penal institutions or corrections centres.
 

    Tunisia

The U.S. Department of State’s 2013 country report on human rights in Tunisia reported that six corrections institutions are reserved for minors, housing a total population of 400 detainees.
 

    Uganda

In its reply to the written questions from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Uganda reported that 167 children were detained in Kampiringisa National Rehabilitation Centre as of August 2005.
 

    Zambia

The U.S. Department of State’s 2012 report on human rights in Zambia reported that 3 percent of prisoners were juveniles, a significant decrease from 2011 when 10 percent of prisoners were juveniles.
 

    Zimbabwe

Figures published by UNODC indicate that the number of children in prisons, penal institutions and correctional institutions in Zimbabwe fell substantially between 2003 and 2008.

2003: 421 (6.6 per 100,000)

2004: 348 (5.4 per 100,000)

2005: 327 (5.1 per 100,000)

2006: 361 (5.6 per 100,000)

2007: 208 (4.3 per 100,000)

2008: 217 (3.3 per 100,000)

These figures are the number of children detained on a specific day and exclude detention for non-criminal purposes.