Recent ÇHD report reveals improper practices in new maximum security prisons

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Inmates in new maximum-security prisons in Turkey are being forced into solitary confinement in violation of the relevant regulations, the Bianet daily reported.

The Progressive Lawyers’ Association (Çağdaş Hukukçular Derneği, ÇHD), scrutinized conditions in new maximum-security prisons, also known as Y-type and S-type prisons, in a recent report. According to the ÇHD, inmates were kept in solitary confinement and under harsh conditions often imposed on prisoners sentenced to aggravated life. 

S-type and Y-type prisons were built in 2021 to accommodate people sentenced to aggravated life as well as political prisoners, both of which groups have been categorized as dangerous prisoners. The Ministry of Justice has previously been criticized for not being transparent about how these prisons would function. 

“Inmates in these new prisons are not granted rights and privileges to which they are entitled according to regulations,” said the report. “Such practices are detrimental to the physical and mental health of prisoners.”

According to the report, ventilation in these prisons is not sufficient. Inmates in solitary confinement are not allowed yard time with the others, allowed to speak with others and have restricted access to books. Food is inadequate and poor quality, and inmates are constantly pressured by guards to stay silent. Some inmates were told they were transferred to these new prisons because they were “very dangerous.”

Many inmates in F-type maximum security prisons across the country were transferred to these new prisons, and the Ministry of Justice has remained silent in the face of claims of improper practices and poor conditions. 

Traditionally, inmates who have been sentenced to aggravated life are put in solitary cells; however, an increasing number of political prisoners have been confined to these cells in recent years as well.

By law an inmate can only stay in solitary confinement for a maximum of 20 days; however, there are currently hundreds of inmates who have been in solitary for more than two years. 

Human rights advocates have previously criticized the widespread use of this practice in Turkish prisons, saying inmates in solitary cells were under unprecedented stress. 

Inmates in solitary confinement are not only alone in their cells, but they are also not allowed time in the courtyard or participation in sports activities.

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