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Alternative Sanctions for Juveniles

In 2007 Turkey created a probation system in order to implement Restorative Justice Practices, just like many other countries around the world. According to the Ministry of Justice General Directorate of Prisons and Detention Houses Department of Probation (2015), The Branch Directorate Responsible for Juvenile and Youth Probation Procedures:

  • - Follows the execution of probation sentences given to the juvenile.
  • - Follows the rehabilitation process of juvenile probationers within society.
  • - Follows the work of juvenile probationers and takes precautions to avoid recidivism of juvenile offenders under probation.
  • - Helps resocialization of juvenile offenders/probationers.
  • - Collaborates with all stakeholders, i.e., Ministry of justice, other Ministries, governmental and nongovernmental institutions/organizations, and other professionals in relation to probation of juvenile probationers.

In the Turkish Justice System, the main probation measures for juveniles are Judicial Control, Delaying the pronouncement of the judgment, Suspension of Sentence, and Parole. Probation orders can only be given by the judge. Additionally, the probation system offers alternatives to short-term confinement in order to prevent social exclusion of the juvenile. Alternative sanctions for juveniles are limited and are not regulated in the CPL. These sanctions are available for both adults and juveniles and are regulated in the Turkish Criminal Code (2005) Article 50:

ARTICLE 50 - (1) Short-term imprisonment may be converted to the following punishments according to the personality, social and economic status of the convict, repentance shown by him during the trial period and qualifications of the offense;

  • a) Administrative fine.
  • b) Reimbursement of overall loss encountered by the aggrieved party or public, reinstatement or compensation of damages.
  • c) Admittance to an educational institution for a period of at least 2 years to improve professional skills or to learn art by providing shelter.
  • d) Prohibition from traveling to certain places and to conduct certain activities for a period up to half of the imposed punishment.
  • e) In case of commission of an offense by misuse of rights and powers or by failing to take proper care and necessary precautions: seizure of driving license and other license certificates and prohibition from performing certain professions or art for a period from one half up to one fold of the imposed punishment.
  • f) Voluntary employment in a job performed for public interest for a period from one half up to one fold of the imposed punishment (Turkish Criminal Code 2005).

According to statistical data of the Ministry of Justice General Directorate of Prisons and Detention Houses Department of Probation, by 2015 the total number of convicts who had benefited from probation services was 226.970. While 215.633 of these beneficiaries were adults 11.377 of them were juveniles. In other words, for every 100 adults that benefit from probation, there are only five juvenile offenders who benefit from it (Republic of Turkey Ministry of Justice General Directorate of Prisons and Detention Houses Department of Probation 2015).

Differences in Treatment of Boys and Girls

In Turkey, the number of adult female convicts is much lower than the number of male convicts. However, in the past few years this figure has been raising fast: while in 2012 there were 4539 females in penal execution institutions, in 2015 this number reached 6501. Following the same trend, in Turkey most juvenile offenders and the majority of juveniles in prison are boys. Considering the current data of the Turkish Republic Ministry of Justice, there are 21 girls convicts and 57 girls arrestees between the ages 12 and 18 (Giray Sozen 2016).

There are five female closed penal execution institutions and three open penal execution institutions in which convicted and arrestee women and girls are housed in Turkey. “Bozkurt Reformatory” is the only one where is just for convicted girls (ages 12-18) (Giray Sozen 2016).

Its right to emphasize that girls and boys have the same rights and are treated equally during all stages of prosecution and investigation, and in the whole Turkish Juvenile Justice System. The problems and disadvantages of penal execution institutions mentioned earlier are the same for both boys and girls.

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