The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 20 November 1989 and to which Turkey is a party, accepts every person under the age of 18 as a child. Approximately 3,000 children under the age of 17 are in Turkish prisons. The number of children transferring to the adult ward after the age of 18 is again approximately 3,000.
As of today, there are seven closed juvenile prisons and four children’s education centres throughout Turkey. Many children are suffering from illness and disease and do not have access to proper treatment.
The research reveals that about half of the children released are being arrested again due to the punitive system of law and order. Speaking on the subject, Hasan Erdoğan, a member of the Ankara Bar Association Child Rights Centre, said that there is a need for joint reasoning for a fairer trial and execution system for children driven into crime. Referring to the need to challenge juvenile prisons, Hasan Erdoğan said that the current legal system is just as unfair for children as it is for adults.
Doctor Civan Gökalp, who worked as a doctor in a juvenile prison, stated that the children could not accept and get used to staying in the prison. Gökalp also said that even if they are involved in crime, being a child should be considered separate from the legal, religious and traditional rules of the state and society.
“I prescribe toys for the children who are staying with their mothers,” says Doctor Gökalp.