Turkish judges in youth justice visit

Judicial officials and academics in London on fact-finding mission to understand system in England and Wales
(back row) Yusuf Solmaz Balo, Turkish Ministry of Justice director; Lin Hannigan, Youth Justice Board chief executive and Lucy Dawes, deputy chief executive; Ankara Bar association lawyer Funda Boyraz; (front row) Eylem Ümit Atılgan, Ankara University law faculty; Gökten Kocaoğlu, Youth court head judge; Aynur Oral, Turkish Ministry of Justice director; Engin Demir, Head of Youth Affairs, Ministry of Family and Social Policies
(back row) Yusuf Solmaz Balo, Turkish Ministry of Justice director; Lin Hinnigan, Youth Justice Board chief executive and Lucy Dawes, deputy chief executive; Ankara Bar association lawyer Funda Boyraz; (front row) Eylem Ümit Atılgan, Ankara University law faculty; Gökten Kocaoğlu, Youth court head judge; Aynur Oral, Turkish Ministry of Justice director; Engin Demir, Head of Youth Affairs, Ministry of Family and Social Policies

TURKISH judges and academics were in London this week to learn more about how young offenders are handled in the English justice system.

The six-person delegation from Ankara – which also included officials from Turkey’s justice ministry – spent two days visiting police stations and youth courts in London.

At Hammersmith police station, they learned how young people arriving there are often assessed under a “triage” system that intends to involve their parents sooner and reduce their chances of reoffending.

The visit was organised by the Youth Justice Board, which oversees the youth justice system in England and Wales.

Speaking before the visit, YJB chief executive Lin Hinnigan said they would be telling the Turkish fact-finding delegation about  the board’s role “in advising the Government on youth justice policy, in monitoring the secure estate, along with our work with youth offending teams, the police and the courts, to help improve resettlement and reduce youth offending.

“The Turkish delegation was also keen to learn more about many early intervention initiatives, including Triage, which youth offending teams now run, and have played a key role in reducing youth offending in recent years.”

The visit comes after an earlier visit by Youth Justice Board officials to Ankara last December, where they spoke to officials to understand how the Turkish police and judicial systems deal with children and young people who offend at the moment.

The visit was organised by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Turkish Embassy in London.

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