90,000 inmates to be released from prison amid virus outbreak: AKP

90,000 inmates to be released from prison amid virus outbreak: AKP

90,000 inmates to be released from prison amid virus outbreak: AKP

Some 90,000 inmates will be released from prisons, with a majority of them to be put under house arrest, according to a law drafted by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) that overhauls the proceedings of the execution of criminal.

Cahit Özkan, a deputy parliamentary group leader for the AKP, told reporters on March 31 that the 70-article draft bill that amends 11 different laws has been submitted to parliament. “Around 45,000 people will benefit from the temporary and permanent amendments [on the law on execution of sentences]. This figure will increase to 90,000 with those that will be put under house arrest from open prisons due to the pandemic,” Özkan said.

The AKP submitted the draft proposal to the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) about two weeks ago and started deliberations on the matter with the members of two opposition parties, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the İYİ (Good) Party, last week.

Özkan stressed that the final shape of the drafted bill was drawn out after the deliberations with all the political interlocutors. Inmates older than 65, women prisoners with children aged up to six years old and extremely sick inmates will be put under house arrest under certain conditions, he informed.

The draft bill changes conditional release dates. The convict who completed half of his sentence will be released conditionally, according to the proposal. The probation period will be increased to three years.

The law will not cover those charged with sexual offenses, drug-related crimes, deliberate killing and terror crimes, as well as violence against women, Özkan stated. The draft is expected to be discussed at the General Assembly, the AKP official stressed.

There are around 300,000 inmates in 375 prisons, although the capacity is believed to be around 120,000. Concerns over the health conditions of the prisoners have increased after the coronavirus began spreading in Turkey.