ISSN: 0041-4255
e-ISSN: 2791-6472

Yüksel Çeli̇k

Keywords: Ottoman Empire, Prison, Üsküdar Pashakapısı Remand-Prison, Invasion


Reform of prisons is an important subject matter of social and legal history. Debates on improving the conditions of prisons in the Ottoman Empire appeared in the second half of the Nineteenth Century. Nonetheless, actual reform in prisons of the empire was a slow process, due to certain political problems, wars, and fiscal crisis. A couple of issues stood out in this gradual reform process: fixing the administrative problems, creating a sound legal framework, and building new prisons and correctional facilities. This article will first discuss the reform process in prisons of the empire, which gained momentum toward the end of the Nineteenth Century. Then it will focus on the occupation of Üsküdar Paşakapısı Prison by the British in the later stages of the First World War. The construction of this prison started at the turn of the Twentieth Century, and it moved very slowly due to hardships, which the Ottomans encountered because of the Balkan Wars, and the Great War. We believe that this study on Üsküdar Paşakapısı Prison -which was located at the capital of the empire- for the aforementioned period will be an excellent showcase in demonstrating the fundamental problems of the legal penal system in the Ottoman Empire as well as the difficulties, which the inmates suffered.