22nd November 2011

With the ratification of the United Nation’s Convention on Children’s Rights, the German government committed itself to respecting the rights of the child separated from one or both parents by making contact to both parents possible, provided this does not interfere with the best interest of the child. Accordingly, compliance with children’s rights during the different stages of arrest, conviction of the parent and visits to the detention centre is of utmost importance.

On September 30th of 2011, the UN committee for the Rights of the Child dealt with the situation of children of imprisoned parents as part of this year’s Day of General Discussion. On this occasion, the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group addressed a query to the federal government at the beginning of September of 2011, in order to gain an overview of children of imprisoned parents’ legal and living situation, with the help of current data.

From the perspective of the parliamentary group, response from the federal governments was unsatisfactory. Criticism arose after the federal government failed to respond to 11 out 27 questions referring to the federal states’ jurisdiction and general lack of knowledge.

Furthermore, the federal government lacked information regarding the percentage of prisoners who are parents, the percentage of children affected by the imprisonment of a custodial parent, and the extent to which children are involved when it comes to visitation regulations. There was additional concern surrounding the lack of child consultation to determine their specific needs and opinions.

The parliamentary group regrets that specific data-collection in this field is still not pursued by the federal government.

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Author: rmchristen