Human Rights Watch has measured the compliance of each state in the United States with the international standards on children’s rights, which stem from the Convention of the Rights of the Child. The United States is the only UN member state that has not yet ratified the CRC.
The report published by HRW measures this compliance in relation to four core child rights issues: juvenile justice, corporal punishment, child marriage and child labour. All 50 states are measured on these four categories through an assessment of 12 specific state-level laws, using a scorecard to rate them.
In terms of juvenile justice, this HRW study focuses on three main aspects that are clearly defined by international standards on children’s rights: firstly, the minimum age of criminal responsibility should be at least 14 years old; secondly, the fact that that no person under 18 can be prosecuted as an adult; and thirdly, that sentencing to life without parole should be prohibited. It also reminds that corporal punishment in penal institutions should be banned as well.