The reservation made by the UK regarding young offenders is in contradiction to article 37C and this also infringes on other provisions of children's rights. Children in such a place could be open to abuse and neglect. Children in such settings have been stereotyped and labelled so that the question of expressing their opinion and their freedom of expression may be difficult. Contrary to UK claims it may not be beneficial for children and adult to be in the same prison. The UK government did not define those benefits that will accrue to such a child.
According to John Munice (1999), an offender that is under 17 in care of local government authority may be placed under the custody if uncontrollable. Therefore, it is not clear whether this children are put inside adult prison due to lack of accommodation or their behaviour. The underlying factor may be to deter them from committing further crime or to simply punish them.
The situation is uncertain, while the law says that no one under 17 can be sentenced to imprisonment the number of juveniles locked up in adult's prison are on the increase. The following statistics drawn from Munice 1999 was that in 1995 about 1,500 fifteen and sixteen year old boys were held up in adult's prison and later half of them were discharged. Which shows probably that the offences committed were minor. Children in adult prison will be influenced negatively and this might affect their development, education and may even make some worse off than at the beginning.
However, some few young offenders commit grievous crimes, and re-offend but they still should be kept separate from the adults. Majority of these young offenders are in need of welfare and care and not prison sentences. Diversion, which is in line with (UNCRC) position is an alternative to custody and has been practiced for years past. It actually helped to reduce the number of young people in prison but conservative government in 1994 reverted back to the custodial method.
The UK in contradiction to UN recommendation has not still raised its age of criminal responsibility as it is in other parts Europe, Instead it went further to abolish the doli incapax presumption. This has the ability of putting more young ones behind bars. Young Workers. In the UK young people under 18 are allowed to work and this opposes the UNCRC provision for young workers. This reservation made by the UK is not well defined because a person under18 in the UK is still a child but for the purpose of this reservation such a person can stark work at the age of 16.
This reservation is not well defined because they are neither treated as adults in terms of full minimum wage nor are they treated as children because they are working. In considering their age, there is no special provision protecting them from jobs which are hazardous to their health, physical, mental and social development. Some of them are so vulnerable that employers take advantage of them paying them so little for jobs with such risks. Government should bring up a policy or law for the benefit of the 'young work force' and enforce it on the employers of labour Children's Hearing.
The UK reiterated that it deserves its right to continue the operation of Children's Hearing. This is a welfare tribunal serviced by local people from local community. Children's Hearing as practised in UK (Scotland) is not in agreement with various articles of the UNCRC. Children are the deprived of their liberty for some days before attending the hearing and during the hearing they are not allowed legal representation. This is an infringement on their right especially when some of them are clueless as to why their liberty is being curtailed.
Furthermore, judging from the wide range of offences referred to in Children's Hearing, for instance failing to attend school regularly, being beyond the control of parents, being exposed to moral danger these are problems in need of welfare and counselling and not restricting of their liberty. When a child is at risk during the time of consideration, it is then in the best interest of the child to restrict their liberty. Although this tribunal has its grey area, it has been shown to be effective in dealing with problems of children and preventing some of them from going into open care systems or locked up units. The decision taken there is not final because it is subject to appeal.
In conclusion, the main strengths of the UNCRC is that the international community have joint responsibility in promoting the interest and well being of all children. However, its main weakness is that there is no formal device for complaints and no effective sanction for undermine the provision. Nonetheless, it has the potentials to be developed further and this can only be done by those who have responsibility towards the children and not the children themselves.