Rojda Oğuz / DUVAR

3,000 minors in Turkey are serving prison sentences, and more than half of them are jailed at adult penitentiaries, according to a report prepared by the Civil Society in the Penal System (CİSST) association. 

According to CİSST’s Cansu Şekerci, there are seven prisons in Turkey designated for child inmates, but due to a lack of capacity, the majority of convicted minors are being held at facilities intended for adult prisoners, which has resulted in a number of serious problems.  

“For example, in the adult prisons there is generally only one ward designated for child inmates. When these children have problems with one another, normally in the child prisons they are separated into different wards as a precautionary measure, but in the adult prisons, since there are no other wards they are held in one-person cells or rooms,” Şekerci said. 

Şekerci added that child inmates should be listened to in terms of the conditions in which they are held, adding that children are being imprisoned in facilities far away from where their families live. She says she does not see the state trying to come up with a solution that looks out for the best interests of children in terms of having access to their families and staying in facilities that are designed for them. 

According to the report, children who are imprisoned in Turkey are having their right to an education infringed upon: 

“In particular, there is no course whatsoever aimed at supporting the education of children studying at a distance. In terms of education there are only reading and writing courses,” the report said. 

The report also indicated that children were being held in solitary confinement, despite the fact that this is illegal. Such conditions, coupled with the fact that the children do not have access regarding their rights and do not have sufficient psychological support, results in them losing their sense of self-respect.

According to the report, many of those jailed are prevented from meeting with their lawyers, as they are often held in facilities that are located in different cities from where their case is being tried. Some children are not in touch with the lawyers that have been appointed to them, while others have never seen a lawyer at all.