Kiribati bill to keep children out of jail

​Kiribati has passed a bill to prevent youth offenders as young as 14 ending up in adult prisons.

There are ten young offenders being held in adult prisons in Kiribati for crimes such as stealing bike parts.

The Juvenile Justice Act will set standards for the youth justice system, including a new youth court and a focus on diverting children into community led rehabilitation programmes.

UNICEF's child protection specialist, Salote Kaimacuata, says surveys conducted in Fiji show separating youth and adult offenders is important to reduce the risk of reoffending.

“They come out linking up and networking with older, more experienced offenders so you really want to prevent any of that networking starting in the first place. But you also want to ensure that they stay on in school and in paid employment if they are working.”

Kaimacuata says proper facilities need to be constructed and training conducted to ensure the youth justice system is effective.