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Friday 29th of May 2020

Press Room

Switzerland - United Nations. Mental health resources for young offenders

Thursday 30th of July 2009
IJJO Day by Day

The Annual Ministerial Review of the United Nations Economic and Social Council took place in Geneva (Switzerland) from July 6th to 8th 2009. This year this meeting has focused on global public health. The International Juvenile Justice Observatory (IJJO) co-organised with Fundación Diagrama Intervención Psicosocial a side-event on 7th July, on the subject: Mental health resources for young offenders. During the side-event, the situation of minors with mental disorders in the juvenile justice system was exposed and analysed. Importance was given to the need of interdisciplinary cooperation between the judicial and health systems.

Considering the access to health is a fundamental right, this side-event underlined the importance of health resources for people deprived of their liberty, acknowledging the need to promote well-being and health in the prison intervention policies. In fact, there is a high prevalence of minor and young offenders with mental disorders or illnesses, especially in the context of deprivation of liberty. In order to promote the development of mental health assistance systems in youth justice to offer specific alternatives and promote the reintegration possibilities, it is essential to carry out an individual assessment through a psychopathological screening of minors in conflict with the law. During this side-event, Cédric Foussard, director of the International Juvenile Justice Observatory (IJJO) intervened together with Agustina Ramos, Coordinator of the Communications and Documentation department of the same Observatory, as well as Nikhil Roy, Development Programmes Director, representing the international organisation Penal Reform International, who talked about ‘Mental health in the Juvenile justice systems. Problems and solutions’. Finally, through the analysis of the medical treatment of the minor offender in Spain and its difficulties, Federico de Montalvo Jääskeläinen, member of the Santander Law and Minors Chair and Doctor in Constitutional Law at the University Pontificia de Comillas in Madrid (Spain), spoke about the legal-sanitary context which affects the minor offender with mental health problems. This side-event was also a very special occasion to promote the Joint IJJO declaration: Harmonisation of juvenile justice systems on a European level, underlining as one of the essential elements, the protection of the physical, mental and well-being integrity of minors deprived of their liberty and respecting the individualisation principle of the treatment and application of socio-educational measures. The participation of all experts allowed achieving a global reflection on the situation of minor offenders with mental health problems, making it easier for institutions and professionals to meet in this field and allowing an important communication on this problematic within the United Nations Economic and Social Committee (ECOSOC).


With the support of the Prevention of and Fight against Crime Programme European Commission - Directorate-General Justice, Freedom and Security

  • International Juvenile Justice Observatory (IJJO). Belgian Public Utility Foundation

    All rights reserved

  • Head Office: Rue Armand Campenhout, nº 72 bte 10. 1050. Brussels. Belgium

    Phone: 00 32 262 988 90. Fax: 00 32 262 988 99. oijj@oijj.org

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