A recent report by Gülizar Biçer Karaca from the Republican People’s Party (CHP) has revealed that criminal activity among minors in Turkey is concerningly high, with 30,300 minors convicted of a felony in the last year, the Birgün daily reported.
The report, titled “Children’s Prison,” included statistics from the Ministry of Justice. According to these numbers, nearly half of those convicted were incarcerated, while 15,407 were released under judicial supervision. The ministry also stated that 5,601 minors were still of school age and would continue their education in detention facilities.
The report added that juvenile detention centers were not equipped to meet the psychological and physical needs of youngsters. It called for urgent reform of the penal system so that minors are not incarcerated but are reintegrated into society.
Human rights activists have repeatedly argued that conditions in Turkey’s juvenile detention centers are dismal and rife with ill-treatment, violence and torture. Worryingly, minors did not have the means to talk about their problems or even file complaints if they were mistreated. In some cases, if there is not adequate space in juvenile detention centers, minors are sent to adult prison facilities.
Human rights advocates were unable to obtain data about conditions in juvenile detention centers, where 13 youngsters died between 2013 and 2017. At least six of those deaths were suicides.