The Complaints About the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak Received from Prisons / 20-25 March

In this report, we are presenting the complaints received from the hotline of Civil Society in the Penal System Association between the dates of 20-25 March 2020, without giving any information about prisons and prisoners. During this period, we received complaints from 26 different penal institutions. Three of these 26 institutions are closed prisons, twenty-three of them are open prisons.


The Capacity Problem in Prisons 

Overcrowding in prisons is a problem that has been going on for a long time, and prisoners face many issues due to this reason. In addition to the problems listed below, we could say that many applications for violations that we received are mostly caused by overcrowding.

The prisoners reported that their wards were cramped, that their beds were too close to each other and that they had to sleep at this intimacy, that they could not establish enough physical distance, that too many prisoners had to come together in the common areas, such as dining halls. In some prisons, closure of prison yards at certain times due to the cold weather has limited the movement of the prisoners that causes them to spend time in the same area close to each other.


The General Condition of Prisons and Hygiene Measures

It has been reported that,

  • Although some prisons have been disinfected by fumigation, some have not,
  • Only in few prisons, the disinfection materials are provided in the hallways,
  • In some prisons, the prison officers do not wear protective masks or only part of them wears them,
  • Prison officers do not come close to prisoners unless for counting and at some prisons, prisoners are counted standing next to each other,
  • Prison officers have been leaving prisoners’ food on their doorstep to avoid physical contact,
  • There has been no regular cleaning in quite a few prisons,
  • Disinfection products are sold at the prison commissaries for 10 to 45 liras,
  • The dining halls are not adequately cleaned.


Hygiene of Prisoners

It has been reported that,

  • While some prison administrations hand out soap to the wards, at some prisons soap is not accessible,
  • Prisoners are not provided with masks and gloves,
  • Cleaning products are not provided without charge for prisoners who cannot afford it,
  • In many prisons, there are not any sanitizing products in toilets,
  • Bathrooms are filthy,
  • Some prisons allow only an hour for showering to each ward, at all other times baths are locked,
  • The number of sinks is insufficient,
  • Water is cut off frequently and hot water is limited,
  • Some prisons still charge money for laundry and some prisoners who cannot afford to buy detergent.


Quarantine Wards

It has been reported that,

  • The prisoners returning from leave are quarantined at some prisons. Some prisons did not take such precautions in the first place and prisoners returned to their usual wards, but now quarantine wards are actively in use,
  • Visitation rooms and workshops are used as quarantine wards,
  • In several prisons, the prisoners who stay at the quarantine wards use the dining halls and other common areas with other prisoners, the necessary measures are not taken in this regard,
  • In few prisons, the prisoners staying in the quarantine section have been cut off from the other prisoners, kept in terrible conditions, and the prisoners coming back from the hospitals are staying in these wards,
  • No precautions were taken for those in the risk groups, the prisoners who have come back from leave and the prisoners in the risk groups are kept in the same section,
  • In some quarantine wards, prisoners sleep on the floor and have no access to cleaning products,
  • The quarantine wards are overcrowded, and social isolation is impossible,
  • There are no doctor check-ups and only their temperature is taken,
  • There have been prisoners whose fever went up to 38.5 degrees, however, they were not tested.


Access to the Right to Health

It has been reported that,

  • Doctors do not attend the infirmary, prisoners are not taken to the infirmary,
  • Prisoners cannot receive medication from the infirmary,
  • Precautions are not taken for the ill and elderly,
  • No measurements are taken for cardiac patients and chronically ill prisoners, instead prisoners have to take measurements on their own.



It has been reported that,

  • Meals are bad, unhealthy, and unsanitary,
  • Supplementary food is not provided,
  • No vitamins are provided,
  • Prices in the canteen are expensive,
  • Fruits and vegetables such as lemon, garlic, onion are in limited supply.