Children in detention in the justice system: Asia

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.

   

    Afghanistan

In 2008, UNICEF published a report on children detained in rehabilitation centres in Afghanistan. The report was based on questionnaires filled in by 247 children in detention across 22 of the country’s 34 provinces. The report did not estimate how many children were in detention across the whole country.
 

    Armenia

Figures published by UNODC for the number of children detained in prisons, penal institutions or correctional institutions in Armenia between 2004 and 2014 fluctuate, but show a general declining trend.

2004: 32 (3.7 per 100,000)

2005: 42 (5 per 100,000)

2006: 41 (5 per 100,000)

2007: 35 (4.4 per 100,000)

2008: 51 (6.5 per 100,000)

2009: 55 (7.2 per 100,000)

2010: 55 (5.6 per 100,000)

2011: 42 (4.5 per 100,000)

2012: 33 (3.4 per 100,000)

2013: 24 (2.9 per 100,000)

2014: 15 (2.2 per 100,000)

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

    Azerbaijan

Figures published by UNODC showed a general downward trend in the number of children detained in prisons, penal institutions or correctional institutions in Azerbaijan between 2004 and 2012. However, the numbers of children held in this facilities rose sharply in up to 2014, the highest rate of detention in the last 10 years.

2004: 55 (1.9 per 100,000)

2005: 60 (2.1 per 100,000)

2006: 59 (2.1 per 100,000)

2007: 59 (2.2 per 100,000)

2008: 39 (1.5 per 100,000)

2009: 45 (1.7 per 100,000)

2010: 32 (1.2 per 100,000)

2011: 29 (1.1 per 100,000)

2012: 27 (1.1 per 100,000)

2013: 70 (2.7 per 100,000)

2014: 88 (3.5 per 100,000)

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

    Bahrain

Figures published by UNODC for the number of children detained in prisons, penal institutions or correctional institutions in Bahrain only cover 2007 and 2008 and so cannot indicate long term trends in the number of children held in these facilities.

2007: 5 (1.8 per 100,000)

2008: 1 (0.3 per 100,000)

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

    Bangladesh

UNODC figures for the number of children detained in prisons, penal institutions or correctional institutions in Bangladesh are very limited and do not include any figures from after 2006.

2005: 695 (1.2 per 100,000)

2006: 546 (0.9 per 100,000)

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

    Bhutan

Figures published by UNODC for the number of children detained in prisons, penal institutions or correctional institutions in Bhutan are very limited and only cover 2012 and 2013.

2012: 41 (15.8 per 100,000)

2013: 37 (14.4 per 100,000)

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

    Brunei Darussalam

Figures published by UNODC are very limited with regards to the number of children detained in prisons, penal institutions or correctional institutions in Brunei Darussalam. No figures are available for the number of children held in these facilities since 2004.

2003: 2 (1.7 per 100,000)

2004: 3 (2.5 per 100,000)

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

    Cambodia

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

    China

Figures published by UNODC show a decline in the number of children detained in prisons, penal institutions and correctional institutions in China between 2010 and 2014.

2010: 18,450 (6.3 per 100,000)

2011: 16,000 (5.5 per 100,000)

2012: 15,000 (5.3 per 100,000)

2013: 13,000 (4.6 per 100,000)

2014: 10,854 (3.8 per 100,000)

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

    Georgia

FIgures published by UNODC show a steady decline in the number of children detained in prisons, penal institutions or correctional institutions in Georgia since 2006, albeit with a slight increase in 2014.

2005: 142 (13.4 per 100,000)

2006: 324 (31.6 per 100,000)

2007: not reported.

2008: 280 (29.2 per 100,000)

2009: 256 (27.5 per 100,000)

2010: 206 (22.7 per 100,000)

2011: 177 (19.9 per 100,000)

2012: 123 (14.2 per 100,000)

2013: 75 (8.8 per 100,000)

2014: 83 (9.9 per 100,000)

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

Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region of China

Figures published by UNODC show very high rates of detention of children in prisons, penal institutions or correctional institutions in Hong Kong.

2003: 1,114 (84.3 per 100,000)

2004: 1,295 (101.6 per 100,000)

2005: 1,158 (94 per 100,000)

2006: 1,234 (103.7 per 100,000)

2007: 1,294 (112.1 per 100,000)

2008: 1,374 (122 per 100,000)

2009: 1,287 (116.3 per 100,000)

2010: 1,200 (109.7 per 100,000)

2011: 1,138 (105.7 per 100,000)

2012: 1,048 (97.9 per 100,000)

2013: 1,071 (99.9 per 100,000)

These figures are the number of children detained on a specific day and exclude detention for non-criminal purposes. UNODC’s figures are substantially higher than those reported in the World Prison Brief, which records that 3.4 percent of the prison population was under the age of 18 in June 2014, an estimated 282 children in total.
 

    India

During its 2011 report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC/C/IND/3-4), section 8B.2), India reported that on average 4,500 children were sent to “special homes” every year. It was not clear from the figures produced how many children were detained within the criminal justice system at any given time.
 

    Indonesia

Figures published by UNODC are insufficient to comment on long term trends on the number of children held in prisons, penal institutions or correctional institutions in Indonesia.  

2012: 4,353 (5.2 per 100,000)

2013: 5,076 (6 per 100,000)

2014: 3,738 (4.4 per 100,000)

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

    Iran, Islamic Republic of

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

    Iraq

Figures published by UNODC for Iraq cover children detained in prisons, penal institutions or correctional institutions within the central regions of the country and cover 2008 to 2013. Detention figures published during this period fluctuate substantially, but peaked in 2012.

2008: 197

2009: 160

2010: 169

2011: 209

2012: 381

2013: 251

These figures are the number of children detained on a specific day and exclude detention for non-criminal purposes. Published figures do not include the rate of detention of children in these facilities.
 

    Israel

Figures published by UNODC show a rapid increase in the number of children detained in prisons, penal institutions and correctional institutions in Israel between 2003 and 2007, during which the number of children detained rose by more than 700 percent. The number of children held in these facilities has since declined, to around 60 percent of the peak by 2014.

2003: 78 (3.7 per 100,000)

2004: 110 (5.2 per 100,000)

2005: 452 (20.9 per 100,000)

2006: 600 (27.3 per 100,000)

2007: 655 (29.3 per 100,000)

2008: 651 (28.6 per 100,000)

2009: not reported.

2010: 438 (18.5 per 100,000)

2011: 384 (15.9 per 100,000)

2012: 447 (18 per 100,000)

2013: 412 (16.3 per 100,000)

2014: 391 (15.2 per 100,000)

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

    Japan

Figures published by UNODC show a general downward trend in the number of children detained in prisons, penal institutions or correctional institutions in Japan between 2003 and 2012. The number of children held in these facilities has, however, been rising since 2012, though detention remains at a very low rate.

2003: 52 (0.2 per 100,000)

2004: 64 (0.3 per 100,000)

2005: 63 (0.3 per 100,000)

2006: 39 (0.2 per 100,000)

2007: 30 (0.1 per 100,000)

2008: 40 (0.2 per 100,000)

2009: 38 (0.2 per 100,000)

2010: 17 (0.1 per 100,000)

2011: 22 (0.1 per 100,000)

2012: 16 (0.1 per 100,000)

2013: 24 (0.1 per 100,000)

2014: 27 (0.1 per 100,000)

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

    Jordan

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

    Kazakhstan

Figures published by UNODC show that between 2005 and 2010, the number of children detained in prisons, penal institutions or correctional institutions in Kazakhstan fluctuated but remained at a relatively stable rate. From 2010, however, the number of children detained in these facilities fell sharply, by more than 70 percent in three years.

2005: 504 (10.6 per 100,000)

2006: 468 (9.8 per 100,000)

2007: not reported

2008: 434 (9.1 per 100,000)

2009: 480 (10.1 per 100,000)

2010: 452 (9.4 per 100,000)

2011: 245 (5 per 100,000)

2012: 160 (3.2 per 100,000)

2013: 116 (2.3 per 100,000)

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

    Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of

CRIN has not been able to locate statistics on the number of children detained within the criminal justice system of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
 

    Korea, Republic of

Figures published by UNODC show a substantial decrease in the number of children detained in prisons, penal institutions or correctional institutions in the Republic of Korea between 2003 and 2014. Across this period the number of children held in these facilities fell by more than 80 percent. Nonetheless, during this period, certain years saw dramatic spikes in the number of children detained, the population of children in these facilities almost doubled in 2007 compared to 2006.

2003: 2,180 (19.2 per 100,000)

2004: 1,649 (14.7 per 100,000)

2005: 1,107 (10.1 per 100,000)

2006: 559 (5.2 per 100,000)

2007: 1,030 (9.7 per 100,000)

2008: 520 (5 per 100,000)

2009: 472 (4.6 per 100,000)

2010: 430 (4.3 per 100,000)

2011: 456 (4.6 per 100,000)

2012: 600 (6.2 per 100,000)

2013: 522 (5.6 per 100,000)

2014: 427 (4.7 per 100,000)

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

    Kuwait

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

    Kyrgyzstan

Figures published by UNODC show a sharp decline in the number of children detained in prisons, penal institutions or correctional institutions between 2003 and 2008, a fall of more than 70 percent. However, UNODC has not published figures on the country since 2008.

2003: 210 (10.5 per 100,000)

2004: 190 (9.6 per 100,000)

2005: 80 (4.1 per 100,000)

2006:101 (5.2 per 100,000)

2007: 57 (2.9 per 100,000)

2008: 57 (2.9 per 100,000)

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

    Lao, People’s Democratic Republic

CRIN has not been able to locate statistics on the number of children detained within the criminal justice system of Lao, PDR.
 

    Lebanon

Figures published by UNODC show fluctuations but a general downward trend in the number of children detained in prisons, penal institutions or correctional institutions in Lebanon since 2005. As of 2013, the number of children detained in these facilities was almost half that reported in 2005.

2005: 164 (12.1 per 100,000)

2006: 170 (12.6 per 100,000)

2007: not reported

2008: not reported

2009: 110 (8.6 per 100,000)

2010: 128 (9.9 per 100,000)

2011: 89 (6.5 per 100,000)

2012: 104 (7.1 per 100,000)

2013: 85 (5.4 per 100,000)

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

    Macao, Special Administrative Region of China

Figures published by UNODC show fluctuations in the number of children detained in prisons, penal institutions or correctional institutions in Macao, but show a general downwards trend between 2008 and 2014.

2008: 17 (17.7 per 100,000)

2009: 6 (6.5 per 100,000)

2010: 6 (6.7 per 100,000)

2011: 4 (4.5 per 100,000)

2012: 10 (11.1 per 100,000)

2013: 5 (5.5 per 100,000)

2014: 1 (1.1 per 100,000)

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

    Malaysia

The World Prison Brief reports that as of 2002 2.2 percent of the prison population were “juveniles”, meaning an estimated 634 people under the age of 18 were detained. If this proportion remained stable, an estimated 1,056 “juveniles” would have been detained as of 2014.

During its 2007 review by the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Malaysia reported that it did not have figures on the number of people under the age of 18 held in detention facilities (CRC/C/MYS/Q/1/Add.1, question 10).
 

    Maldives

Figures published by UNODC for the number of children detained in prisons, penal institutions or correctional institutions in the Maldives only cover the years 2003 and 2004, but indicate a very high rate of detention of children in these facilities, the highest rate recorded in UNODC’s figures from 116 States during this period.

2003: 279 (212.2 per 100,000)

2004: 225 (173 per 100,000)

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

    Mongolia

Figures published by UNODC from between 2004 and 2014 show substantial fluctuations in the number of children detained in prisons, penal institutions or correctional institutions between 2004 and 2014.

2004: 135 (14.3 per 100,000)

2005: 110 (11.9 per 100,000)

2006: 112 (12.3 per 100,000)

2007: 185 (20.7 per 100,000)

2008: 140 (15.8 per 100,000)

2009: 68 (7.7 per 100,000)

2010: 77 (8.7 per 100,000)

2011: 82 (9.1 per 100,000)

2012: 65 (7.1 per 100,000)

2013: 30 (3.2 per 100,000)

2014: 71 (7.5 per 100,000)

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

    Myanmar

The World Prison Brief reports that 1.6 percent of the prison population were juveniles as of 2002. If this proportion remained stable, an estimated 1,056 people under the age of 18 would have been detained as of 2011. This figure excludes people detained in “camp-type institutions”.
 

    Nepal

CRIN has not been able to locate statistics on the number of children detained within the criminal justice system in Nepal. The Central Child Welfare Board within the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare is responsible for collecting data on on “juvenile reform homes”.
 

    Oman

The World Prison Brief reports that as of 2002, 3.8 percent of the prison population were “juveniles”, meaning an estimated 53 children were detained in these institutions.
 

    Pakistan

The World Prison Brief reports that as of 2012, 1.7 percent of the prison population were “juveniles” meaning an estimated 1,274 children were detained in these institutions.
 

    Palestine

Figures published by UNODC cover 2008 to 2012 and show a dramatic rise in the number of children detained in prisons, penal institutions or correctional institutions in Palestine during this period. It is not clear from the published figures which justice systems are covered by these figures, including whether they cover Palestinian children detained in the Israeli military justice system or only in the Palestinian Authority controlled justice system.

2008: 293 (14.9 per 100,000)

2009: 512 (25.6 per 100,000)

2010: 495 (24.4 per 100,000)

2011: 480 (23.3 per 100,000)

2012: 619 (29.6 per 100,000)

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

Defence for Children International - Palestine (DCI-Palestine) publishes monthly figures for the number of Palestinian children held in military detention. Including average yearly population figures:

2008: 319

2009: 355

2010: 289

2011: 192

2012: 198

2013: 199

2014: 197

2015: 220

2016 (Jan-Apr): 420

DCI-Palestine also publishes monthly figures for the number of Palestinian children held in Israeli administrative detention. Between 2011 and September 2015, no children were detained under these measures, but between four and 13 children have been held in administrative detention monthly since October 2014.
 

    Philippines

Figures published by UNODC show a dramatic decrease in the number of children detained in prisons, penal institutions or correctional institutions between 2004 and 2014. The number of children detained in these facilities fell by more than 80 percent according to these figures, but UNODC notes that changes in the way that the Philippines defined and counted children took place during this period, though it is not clear how this changed.

2004: 2,014 (5.4 per 100,000)

2005: 1,803 (4.8 per 100,000)

2006: 1,232 (3.3 per 100,000)

2007: 585 (1.6 per 100,000)

2008: 381 (1 per 100,000)

2009: 302 (0.8 per 100,000)

2010: 412 (1.1 per 100,000)

2011: 479 (1.3 per 100,000)

2012: 424 (1.1 per 100,000)

2013: 439 (1.2 per 100,000)

2014: 360 (0.9 per 100,000)

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

    Qatar

The United States State Department reports that as of 2015, an average of 5-6 “juveniles” are detained at any given time in facilities under the authority of the Ministry of Social Affairs.
 

    Saudi Arabia

The World Prison Brief reports that as of January 2009, 0.9 percent of the prison population were under the age of 18, meaning an estimated 401 children were held in these institutions. During its 2016 review of Saudi Arabia, the Committee on the Rights of the Child requested statistics on the number of children detained and the grounds for their detention, but the State did not respond to this request.
 

    Singapore

Figures published by UNODC are insufficient to comment on long term trends on the number of children held in prisons, penal institutions or correctional institutions in Singapore. No figures have been included in UNODC’s “data portal” since 2004.

2003: 1,143 (111.7 per 100,000)

2004: 981 (94.7 per 100,000)

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

    Sri Lanka

CRIN has been unable to locate comprehensive statistics on the number of children in detention within Sri Lanka’s criminal justice system, but has been able to find figures on the number of children detained in some facilities within the criminal justice system.. In its 2010 report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC/C/LKA/3-4, para. 159), the State provided figures on the number of children held in remand homes, detention homes and certified schools between 1998 and 2006.

According to the Department of Probation and Child Care Services, the country operates six remand homes for children in which children are held while their criminal cases are being heard in court

1998: 1,711

1999: 1,460

2000: 1,327

2001: 1,159

2002: 1,161

2003: 1,121

2004: 1,394

2005: 1,418

2006: 1,052

Sri Lanka also operates a detention home to “rehabilitate destitute children over eight years of age”, including those who live and work on the streets. The home is also used to accommodate children connected to criminal offences and status offences.

1998: 95

1999: 69

2000: 142

2001: 145

2002: 183

2003: 197

2004: 218

2005: 153

2006: 123

As of 2006, 179 children were held in certified schools, which provide vocational training to children who have committed criminal offences as well as those “in need of care and protection”.
 

    Syrian Arab Republic

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

    Taiwan, Province of China

The World Prison Brief reports that as of November 2016, 2.5 percent of the prison population were under the age of 18, meaning an estimated 1,566 children were detained in these facilities.
 

    Tajikistan

The World Prison Brief reports that as of January 2008, 1 percent of the prison population were “juveniles”, meaning an estimated 74 children were detained in these institutions. If this proportion remained stable, an estimated 93 children would have been detained as of 2010.
 

    Thailand

As of 2014, UNODC figures indicate that 6,112 children were detained in prisons, penal institutions or correctional institutions in Thailand, a rate of 41.2 per 100,000 children. UNODC’s “data portal” does not include figures for children held in these institutions between 2003 and 2013.

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

    Timor-Leste

The World Prison Brief reports that as of August 2015, an estimated 5.3 percent of the prison population were under the age of 21, meaning an estimated 31 people under that age were detained in these institutions.
 

    Turkey

Figures published by UNODC indicate a substantial fall in the number of children detained in prisons, penal institutions or correctional institutions in Turkey between 2008 and 2014.

2008: 2,746 (11.9 per 100,000)

2009: 2,679 (11.6 per 100,000)

2010: 2,113 (9.1 per 100,000)

2011: 2,334 (10 per 100,000)

2012: 2,001 (8.5 per 100,000)

2013: 1,978 (8.3 per 100,000)

2014: 1,962 (8.1 per 100,000)

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

UNODC figures appear to be broadly in line with those from other sources. The United States State Department reports that as of 2015, 2,420 children were held in prisons, 1,773 in pre trial detention and 647 following conviction.
 

    Turkmenistan

Figures published by UNODC for children detained in prisons, penal institutions and correctional institutions in Turkmenistan only cover 2003 to 2006, so it is difficult to comment on long term trends in the country.

2003: 109 (5.7 per 100,000)

2004: 127 (6.7 per 100,000)

2005: 109 (5.8 per 100,000)

2006: 78 (4.1 per 100,000)

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

    United Arab Emirates

Figures published by UNODC for the number of children detained in prisons, penal institutions or correctional institutions in the UAE do not include the years 2007 to 2011. Nonetheless, these figures indicate that during this period there was a significant rise in the number of children held in these facilities. The number of children detained has fallen since its high point in 2012.

2003: 81 (9 per 100,000)

2004: 60 6.5 per 100,000)

2005: 115 (11.7 per 100,000)

2006: 66 (6 per 100,000)

2007-2011: not reported

2012: 295 (19.9 per 100,000)

2013: 178 (11.9 per 100,000)

2014: 198 (13.2 per 100,000)

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

    Uzbekistan

During its 2012) report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC/C/UZB/3-4, paras. 955 to 960), Uzbekistan did not provide figures on the population of detention facilities for children, but did provide figures on the number of children sentenced to “correctional labour”, “detention” and “deprivation of liberty” and on remand between 2006 and 2009.

2006: 272 (correctional labour); 6 (detention); 294 (deprivation of liberty); 233 (remand)

2007: 284 (correctional labour); 6 (detention); 241 (deprivation of liberty); 263 (remand)

2008: 189 (correctional labour); 1 (detention); 241 (deprivation of liberty); 216 (remand)

2009: 140 (correctional labour); 2 (detention); 127 (deprivation of liberty); 135 (remand - first 6 months)
 

    Viet Nam

Figures for the number of children detained within the criminal justice system in Viet Nam are scarce. An joint alternative report made on behalf of 11 NGOs for the 2012 review of the State before the Committee on the Rights of the Child included figures for a small number of provinces within the country. The report stated  that in four national reform schools in four of the 58 provinces in Viet Nam (Ninh Binh, Da Nang, Dong Nai and Long An) the number of children being sent to reform schools increased from 1,591 in 2001 to 2,294 in 2008.
 

    Yemen

The current political situation in Yemen makes it difficult to estimate how many children are detained in the criminal justice system in the country. UNODC has published limited figures for the number of children detained in prisons, penal institutions or correctional institutions in Yemen, covering only 2006 to 2009.

2006: 88 (0.8 per 100,000)

2007: 65 (0.6 per 100,000)

2008: 72 (0.6 per 100,000)

2009: 75 (0.6 per 100,000)

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

As of 2013, Human Rights Watch reported that at least 22 people were on death row for offences committed while they were children. In October 2014, the EU and UNICEF jointly reported that 60 cases were being considered in which it was claimed that people were on death row for offences committed while they were children.