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Report shows hard prison conditions for LGBTs, people with disabilities

Hürriyet Daily News – November 11, 2013

A recent report has shown that prison conditions in Turkey are poor for LGBT individuals, people with disabilities and the elderly. 

The Civil Society in the Penal System Foundation (CİSST) compiled its report titled “Project of Inmates with Special Needs,” after one year of research in three prisons, Ümraniye, Bakırköy and Maltepe, in Istanbul. 

Project Coordinator Mustafa Eren told the Hürriyet Daily News that this was the first research of its kind on inmates with special needs. 

He added that some NGOs had begun working to try to improve the conditions after the project was released. 

According to the report, LGBT individuals are kept apart from other inmates in prisons and isolated in social activities in Turkish prisons. The official figures say there are 48 LGBT members imprisoned, but the number only states those whose sexual orientations are “proven” with an official report when admitted to the jail. 

The report also says prison conditions are not suitable for inmates with disabilities. For paralyzed inmates and those who are in wheelchairs, there is not enough equipment, such as special beds to avoid bruises or exercising materials. They also face difficulties when entering through the security gates. 

Eren also complained that the Justice Ministry only gave limited permission to CİSST for its work. 

“We wanted to see the prison cells, the main living areas of the inmates,” he said.

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