‘Judicial acceleration no good this time’
Minister of Justice links high number of prisoners to speedy judicial process. AA photoOne of the reasons for the high number of prisoners currently in Turkish jails is the recent acceleration of the judicial process, Minister of Justice Sadullah Ergin said.
“Judicial acceleration did not serve our purpose for the first time if we take a look at the state of prisons,” Ergin said.
“The Supreme Court of Appeals has been passing judgments three times more often compare to two years ago, but this has caused overpopulation in the prisons,” he said. Overcrowded jails caused a series of riots in Turkish prisons recently. Some 13 people were killed during a fire that started after an uprising on June 16 in Şanlıurfa Prison in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa. Four other protests occurred later in prisons across southeastern provinces. Since 2002 208 jails with poor conditions have been closed said Ergin, speaking to the daily Hürriyet. According to Ergin the government plans to close 197 more jails before 2017. Ergin also said some prisons including Şanlıurfa Prison in the southeast region will be shut down by the government and new jails with a capacity to hold 22,500 prisoners will be built instead. The long detention periods those in prison currently face is the most important problem for him, Ergin said. “Important steps will be taken when the third judiciary package is released,” he said.
“New precautions will decrease the number of jailed people after the implementation of the fourth judiciary package which is regarding rulings of the European Court of Human Rights.” Ergin also said alternative precautions such as probation will help to decrease the number of prisoners. He also said works continue to transfer prisoners from crowded central city jails to empty district jails.