The Complaints About the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak Received from Prisons / 26-31 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 26-31 March 2020, without giving any information about prisons and prisoners. During this period, we received complaints from 34 different penal institutions. Four of these 34 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,

  • Only a few prisons have been disinfected by fumigation, some have not been disinfected at all,
  • At some prisons, fumigation has been done only at the outdoors, common areas have not been fumigated,
  • Still, many prisons had not been cleaning regularly, the prisoners have been cleaning the common areas on their own,
  • Only in few prisons, the disinfection materials are provided in the hallways,
  • Although in some prisons, the prison officers wear protective masks, in others, either only some of the officers wears masks or none of them wears,
  • Prison officers do not come close to prisoners unless for counting and at some prisons, prisoners are counted standing next to each other,
  • At in few prisons, the counting has been done only one time a day as a precaution,
  • Prison officers have been leaving prisoners’ food on their doorstep to avoid physical contact,
  • Due to the low number of windows, ventilation in the buildings is insufficient,
  • 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 hygienic, adequately cleaned; and too many prisoners have to dine at the same time.


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 some prisons instead of regular cologne, the administrations only provide shaving cologne,
  • In many prisons, there are not any sanitizing products in toilets,
  • Most prison administrations provide hand sanitizer only to prison officers and prisoners cannot access to hand sanitizers even they make requests,
  • 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, hot water is limited and only at certain times, hot water is provided.


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,
  • Not all the prisoners who are quarantined are carrying the virus, however, all quarantined prisoners are staying in the same ward, and this situation distresses already healthy prisoners,
  • Due to an insufficient number of prison officers, prisoners have to work in the quarantine wards. No precautions are taken for these prisoners and they have to go back to their regular wards
  • No precautions were taken for those in the risk groups, and the prisoners staying in quarantine wards,
  • In some quarantine wards, the prisoners sleep on the floor and have no access to cleaning products,
  • The quarantine wards are overcrowded, and social isolation is impossible,
  • The prisoners in quarantine wards have to use the same dishes, and the spoons and plates are not properly cleaned,
  • There are no doctor check-ups and only their temperature is taken,
  • There have been prisoners whose fever went up to 38.5 degrees,
  • There have been prisoners showing more than one symptom 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,
  • Even when prisoners are taken to infirmary they could not access to medication, chronically ill prisoners
  • Precautions are not taken for the ill and elderly,
  • The administrations do not obey the government’s decision on allowing the renewal of health reports of chronically ill prisoners without transferring to a hospital,
  • No measurements are taken for the risk groups, 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,
  • The food supply is not enough for all prisoners, in some prisons, they ran out of food in a short time,
  • Supplementary food is not provided,
  • In some prisons, fresh vegetables are not allowed in due to concerns of they may carry the virus,
  • No vitamins are provided,
  • Prices in the canteen are expensive,
  • Fruits and vegetables such as lemon, garlic, onion are in limited supply.