Graduation Term


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Sociology and Anthropology: Sociology

Committee Chair

Maria Schmeeckle


Children in trouble with the law are the focus of much research in the US, but when the scope broadens to include these children across the world, few studies can be found. The United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) articulates a set of universal rights for children. For children in trouble with the law, there are seven articulated rights across Articles 37 and 40; these are: protection against cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment; the right not to be detained in jails or prisons with adult convicts; the right to maintain contact with family members; protection against capital punishment and life without the possibility of release punishments; the right to an attorney or legal counsel; the right to a minimum age of criminal responsibility set by the government; and the right to a fair and speedy trial. This study used CRC country reports, NGO supplemental reports, and Committee on the Rights of the Child’s responses to the other reports to address the question, “What are the global range and patterns of national practices regarding children in trouble with the law?” Qualitative content analysis revealed that countries’ overall compliance ranged from high-medium to low-medium, and that there is wide variation in the discussion of each of the 7 rights individually. Findings are connected to the literature on human rights treaty compliance, global children’s rights, and research on Articles 37 and 40 of the CRC.


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