The issue of pre-trial detention is linked to the age at which juvenile offenders can be subject to custodial sanctions and measures (detention), set by Member States. The corresponding data can be consulted through the data explorer. As a rule, the minimum age for being subject to sentences imposing detention is the same as the minimum age for criminal responsibility.
For information on the age as of which fingerprinting of children is required under criminal justice in different Member States, see our interactive data explorer.
As acknowledged in Recital 45 of the Directive on special safeguards for children, children deprived of their liberty are in a particularly vulnerable situation, and such deprivation results in great risks to their physical, mental and social development. Member States are consequently expected to avoid pre-trial detention whenever possible. Article 10 (1) of the directive provides that “Member States shall ensure that deprivation of liberty of a child at any stage of the proceedings is limited to the shortest appropriate period of time. Due account shall be taken of the age and individual situation of the child, and of the particular circumstances of the case”.