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Title: Revisiting remand imprisonment within biopolitics : a study on Turkey's juvenile justice system through legislative, judiciary and executive powers
Author: Kavur, Nilay
ISNI:       0000 0004 5989 4571
Awarding Body: University of Kent and Eötvös Loránd University
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2016
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Around 3.3 million people are remand prisoners worldwide, and remand imprisonment affects an excess of 14 million people per year (OSF Justice Initiative, 2014). In Turkey, around 70 per cent of young prisoners are on remand in the newly emerging high security prisons called Children's Closed Institutions for Execution of Punishment (and adult prisons). The remaining 30 per cent are sentenced and received by an open type of prisons known as Juvenile Education Houses. The very specific nature of remand imprisonment occupies little space in imprisonment and penal theories and governmentality studies. Remand imprisonment is either considered as a bureaucratic phase in the prosecution system or approached and criticized within human rights violations (right to fair trial and presumption of innocence). In this thesis I argue that the language of human rights impedes critiques that explore and deconstruct remand imprisonment within penal culture and penal politics in Turkey. The stability in the high proportion and the emergence of high security prisons for remanded youth in Turkey lead the researcher to presume that youth remand imprisonment acquires roles within crime control, and social control that could be comprehended within a look through Turkey's governmentality that would draw a picture of its legal culture. So, this thesis explores the role(s) of remand imprisonment in the juvenile justice system in Turkey by situating remand imprisonment in the centre of penal politics. The essential conceptual tools of prison studies including 'labour/discipline', 'time' and 'space' are analysed in this thesis. The diversity of young defendants charged with drug dealing, crimes against property, bodily injury, murder, sexual offences, and political offences in Turkey calls for a comprehensive method of thought. By adopting a study of Biopolitics, as a method of thought (Foucault, 2007, 2008; Lemke 2001, 2011b, Dean 2010, Rose 1996), I scrutinize the roles of remand imprisonment in Turkey's penal politics in relation to Turkey's political economy, its sovereign power relations with the citizens and in relation to the knowledge production/adaptation in its criminal justice system. Within Biopolitics, 'as the politics of optimizing life of the population,' I consider both the relation between the political economy and penal culture as situated within a revisionist history of imprisonment (Rusche and Kircheimmer, 2003; Melossi and Pavarini, 1981; Foucault, 1977; Foucault 1980), and also discuss the manifestation of sovereign power (Agamben, 1998, 2005) of the state towards youth in conflict with the law. I investigate the mode of knowledge production and adaptation in the youth justice system. I specifically concentrate on the effect of the prevalence of the language of rights on youth remand imprisonment in Turkey, and draw on the sociology of human rights literature to aid my analysis. I approach human rights as a socially constructed language embedded in the liberalism movement of Enlightenment, and demonstrate its compatibility with the quest for security through spatial control, at times when social security remains weak. The primary data for this thesis comes from qualitative interviews, observations, and document analysis conducted in Turkish courtrooms and prisons, as well as production of statistical knowledge based on the Ministry of Justice data. Based on the idea that 'law in action' or 'law in context' (Nelken, 2001) can be different than 'law in the books', explaining the praxis and meaning of remand imprisonment calls for an interpretive understanding (Weber, 1978) of meanings different figures attach to their action. In this thesis I scrutinize what meanings and purposes these different actors attach to remand imprisonment by analysing the data generated from interviews with 50 young prisoners in 6 different prisons (Ankara, İstanbul, İzmir, Konya), as well as interviews with 38 youth justice professionals, constituted by prosecutors, lawyers, judges and social work officials, plus information from 65 hearings in three different Turkish courtrooms (Ankara, İstanbul, İzmir). Analysis of the data in governmentality demonstrates that remand imprisonment has evolved into a spatial crime control mechanism in the 'managerialist' conduct of the youth justice system. In this managerialist governmentality where professionalism over social security remains immature, the imagined self-sufficient, self-contained, invulnerable and decontextualized liberal, rational young defendant in the liberal rights discourse, is managed securely in the youth justice system through spatial control. Findings from this research demonstrate that youth remand imprisonment works as a first resort deterrence and control mechanism of security in Turkey, especially for those charged with offences related to drugs and property. The findings also show how youth remand imprisonment is rationalized and neutralized as sovereign power's expression of just desert, as remand imprisonment is not distinguished from prison sentence. The research data also fulfills an administrative control mechanism of evidence collection. So the diverse population of young remand prisoners are all 'managed' (Feeley and Simon, 1992; Bottoms, 1995) within the same regime of high security prisons that I call 'bureaucratic disposal resort'. This thesis adds a novel and needed contribution to the revisionist approach to imprisonment by analysing remand imprisonment as a crime control mechanism in Biopolitics through the country's political economy and its relations of sovereign power. Findings from the research provide an innovative platform to discuss the compatible relationship between the human rights discourse and the practice of remand imprisonment as a spatial crime control mechanism.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: K Law