In spring 2012, a fact-finding mission of British lawyers and jurists met with judges from Israel’s West Bank military courts to study the treatment of Palestinian children in the military justice system. During the conversation, the Israeli judges claimed that imprisoned Palestinian children received access to high quality education in Israeli jails. They stated, furthermore, that Palestinian children occasionally committed prison-punishable crimes to gain access to the prison education system.
In 2010, the Palestinian human rights organization Addameer released a lengthy report on the education available to incarcerated Palestinian children in various Israeli jails. In contravention to the judges’ claims, the report concludes that the education system in prisons is severely deficient and that incarceration hampers Palestinian children’s educational careers.
The report summarizes the education available to Palestinian children in various Israeli jails:
- Rimonim Prison: Arabic and mathematics classes, shortage of textbooks and office supplies
- Megiddo Prison: Arabic and mathmatics classes, no classrooms (classes conducted outdoors or in the prison laundry room), no access to study materials outside of scheduled class time
- HaSharon Prison: no organized educational program
- Ofer Prison: no organized educational program
The report concludes with a discussion of the effects of imprisonment on Palestinian children’s mental health. It notes that rates of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder are extremely high among formerly imprisoned children and that PTSD seriously hampers children’s learning abilities.