Not my crime, still my sentence

2018 edition

2018 COPE campaign logo

Children re-write the Council of Europe Recommendation
in child-friendly language


On 4 April 2018, the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers adopted a Recommendation on children with imprisoned parents and published its accompanying Explanatory Memorandum

This year’s pan-European “Not my crime, still my sentence” campaign will see groups of children in thirteen European countries re-writing its 56 articles in child-friendly language that they can relate to and understand. 


Basic principles of the Recommendation (Articles 1-7)

1.         Children with imprisoned parents shall be treated with respect for their human rights and with due regard for their particular situation and needs. These children shall be provided with the opportunity for their views to be heard, directly or indirectly, in relation to decisions which may affect them. Measures that ensure child protection, including respect for the child’s best interests, family life and privacy shall be integral to this, as shall be the measures which support the role of the imprisoned parent from the start of detention and after release.

2.         Where a custodial sentence is being contemplated, the rights and best interests of any affected children should be taken into consideration and alternatives to detention be used as far as possible and appropriate, especially in the case of a parent who is a primary caregiver.

3.         Whenever a parent is detained, particular consideration shall be given to allocating them to a facility close to their children.

4.         When deciding to transfer sentenced persons to or from a State in which their children reside due regard shall be given to the best interests of the child when considering the rehabilitation purpose of the transfer.

5.         The prison administration shall endeavour to collect and collate relevant information at entry regarding the children of those detained.

6.         National authorities shall endeavour to provide sufficient resources to State agencies and civil society organisations to support children with imprisoned parents and their families to enable them to deal effectively with their particular situation and specific needs, including offering logistic and financial support, where necessary, in order to maintain contact.

7.         Appropriate training on child-related policies, practices and procedures, shall be provided for all staff in contact with children and their imprisoned parents.



The Council of Europe has produced a video highlighting the importance of the Recommendation, which can be viewed here: 

Protecting children with imprisoned parents


Throughout the month of June, we will be posting updates on the campaign, including previews of the articles re-written by children and young people across Europe, both in these pages of our website and our Facebook and Twitter pages.


Recommendation CM/Rec(2018)5 of the Committee of Ministers to Member States concerning children with imprisoned parents

Explanatory Memorandum to Recommendation CM/Rec(2018)5 concerning children with imprisoned parents



Get in touch to find out how you can support the 2018 “Not my crime, still my sentence” campaign.

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