‘Almost 9,000 inmates released under package’

‘Almost 9,000 inmates released under package’

‘Almost 9,000 inmates released under package’

Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin visits Ankara’s Sincan juvenile prison into which child inmates were moved amid allegations of sexual abuse scandal. AA photo

Some 9,000 inmates have been released so far under a recently adopted legal arrangement extending the scope of judicial control measures, Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin announced yesterday.

Ergin, speaking in an interview with Anatolia news agency, first of all noted that under a legal arrangement made in April, 15,000 inmates were released on probation and 8,600 inmates had been released so far from open prisons after a legal reform installing a new judicial control mechanism known as the third judicial reform package went into force on July 5.

The minister cited these releases as one of the main factors that have led to gradual relief of problems stemming from overpopulation in Turkey’s prisons.

328 prisons closed

As a matter of fact, the total number of inmates in Turkey’s 377 prisons is beyond the capacity of these prisons, Ergin said, suggesting that the problem stems from inappropriate distribution of inmates.

“We are trying to balance these problems via transfers [from overcrowded prisons to others],” Ergin said, noting that the third package also brought a new arrangement loosening conditions for serving sentences in open prisons, thus more inmates from closed prisons were now being transferred to open prisons.

Currently, there are 377 prisons in Turkey, 328 of which are closed prisons.

“At the moment, we have provided significant relief throughout Turkey,” Ergin said.

Ergin didn’t elaborate, but these 8,600 inmates presumably include both convicts and people who were held in jail despite not having been convicted of crimes. Judges are now able to implement judicial control without a maximum limit, rather than relying on detention. Previously this was only applicable for those facing charges punishable by up to three years in jail.