Convicts on probation to undertake maintenance, repair works of schools during winter break
ANKARA – Demirören News Agency
Offenders who are under surveillance as part of Turkey’s probation programs will undertake the maintenance, repair, cleaning, and painting works of 1,909 schools in all provinces in Turkey during the two-week winter break.
Nearly 45,000 convicts will carry out this unpaid community service as part of their supervised release. The project is run under the joint cooperation of the Justice Ministry and Education Ministry.
The convicts were joined by Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül and Education Minister Ziya Selçuk during their works in an Ankara high school on Jan. 21.
he ministers wore vests and caps and painted classrooms with the offenders. They then held a press conference.
“Of course the state’s and the schools’ budgets are sufficient to do this but the basic approach here is to give a message in terms of social responsibility,” Gül said.
“Education is the foremost element that can stop crime if it becomes a compass for offenses and offenders,” he added.
“We have renewed the [relevant protocols] with our education minister. We support education opportunities [for convicts] especially for children jailed in prions. Some of them know how to paint from their professions, but also those who do not know are here now. As part of the Public Education Program, they are learning these professions, and will acquire a job once released from prison. They are able to take bread home for the people they take care of,” Gül said.
The minister informed that the repair works undertaken by the convicts will not be limited to the semester break. “We will meet these demands on weekends as well,” he said.
Likewise, Selçuk also stressed the significance of the project run together with the Justice Ministry and said children will benefit from this too.
“Children will become very happy once they start the second semester with clean and tidy classrooms,” said Selçuk.
Selçuk added that the cooperation between the two ministries is very important as it serves the needs of the schools and education. “It is crucial for this event, undertaken as part of the probation program, to be widespread,” he said.
Offering an alternative to incarceration, the fundamental purpose of the probation system is to prevent individuals from committing a criminal offense again, rehabilitating them and monitoring their activities outside prison.
The probation programs are supervised by the Justice Ministry’s General Directorate of Prisons and Detention Facilities’ Probation Department.