Technical Support Project on Improving Mental Health and Addiction Services in Prisons

Ministry of Justice: LGBT training is provided to prisons’ psycho-social service experts

The Ministry of Justice responded to a request for information regarding LGBT inmates and said that it provides training on how to approach LGBT convicts and detainees to the prisons’ psycho-social service experts. The Ministry did not respond to the question on whether correctional officers and the general inmate population receive programs on awareness-building and violence prevention.

Source: Murat Köylü, “Adalet Bakanlığı: Cezaevi psiko-sosyal servis uzmanlarına LGBT eğitimi verildi”, (“Ministry of Justice: LGBT training is provided to prisons’ psycho-social service experts”), Kaos GL, 30 December 2014, http://www.kaosgl.com/sayfa.php?id=18372

The Ministry had said “We do not do any work on LGBT rights”

The Ministry of Justice sent a partial answer to Mahmut Tanal’s request for information regarding “LGBT rights in prisons”. Mahmut Tanal is a member of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey’s Human Rights Commission.

The Ministry of Justice had answered that they do not conduct “any work on LGBT rights”, in response to another request for information by Parliamentarian Tanal. However, it has been revealed that the Ministry is in fact giving trainings on the issue to the prison psycho-social service experts.

Isolation instead of education!

The European Court of Human Rights had found Turkey guilty of discrimination and ill-treatment in a 2012 case regarding a gay inmate’s “isolation for his own security.” In the following months of the judgement,  the Ministry of Justice had put forth an “LGBT-only Prison”, which was criticized by civil society as “collective isolation”.

Mahmut Tanal, Member of Parliament from the Republican People’s Party, submitted a parliamentary question in November 2014 to the Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdağ on “LGBT inmates rights”. However, given the fact that questions submitted by opposition parties usually go unanswered, the same questions were submitted to the Ministry through a request for information, which makes a response mandatory.

The questions submitted by MP Tanal are:

  • Are there any occupational trainings regarding the problems and special needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans detainees and convicts given to correctional officers, teachers, social workers, psychologists, sociologists, and health personnel working within the prison system?
  • In the recruitment process for the aforementioned personnel, are there any criteria requiring knowledge and experience that are to be met on LGBT persons’ human rights and special needs?
  • Are there any awareness-building and violence prevention programs given to correctional officers and other inmates on combating stereotypes based on sexual orientation and gender identity, exclusion and violence?

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