Number of inmates exceeds prison capacity in Turkey, report shows

Number of inmates exceeds prison capacity in Turkey, report shows

Bülent Sarıoğlu ANKARA
Number of inmates exceeds prison capacity in Turkey, report shows

DHA Photo

The number of inmates in Turkey has exceeded the capacity of the country’s prisons, leading to serious overcrowding issues, according to a report prepared by parliament’s Human Rights Inspection Commission.

As of March 2, the number of inmates across Turkey was 165,033, recent data provided by the Justice Ministry showed. The total number of convicts is 142,114, while the number of people under arrest pending trial was 22,919.

The total capacity of prisons across Turkey is 163,129, according to the data.
The rise in the number of inmates has caused a number of severe problems in prisons across the country, the report revealed.

“The highest bunks almost touch the ceiling in some prisons. But there still are some inmates who have to sleep on beds on the floor due to the lack of bed space,” said the report.

“Bathroom and kitchens are in the same place, which leads to hygiene problems. Some inmates said they had to eat their meals on their beds due to lack of space in the kitchen or on tables,” it added.
“Some rooms have seven bunks and others have seven beds on the floor along the wall. As many as 25 inmates stay in some rooms, which have a capacity of only 18. Some inmates are provided with hot water twice a week for only 40 minutes, an insufficient period of time,” stated the report.

‘Inmate died due to lack of taxi fee’

The report comes shortly after news of inmate in the Aegean province of Manisa dying, allegedly due to a lack of medical treatment.

Abdullah Akgün, 31, who was serving at the Manisa T type open prison for three months, fell sick with a serious fever. An emergency ambulance came to the prison and health teams gave him an injection before trying to take him to hospital. However, inmates at the prison have claimed that Akgün was not taken to hospital because he did not have the money for the 50-lira taxi fare that would have brought him back from hospital to prison after treatment. He therefore remained in prison and was found dead in his bed the next day.

In a grimly ironic twist, Akgün was serving a two-year prison sentence for failing to repay debts.

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Manisa deputy Özgür Özel went to the prison and took information from the officials about the incident.

Özel said Akgün should have been taken to hospital on the night he fell ill, but was not as he could not afford the taxi fare. The CHP also said the prison did not have a doctor on duty for such urgent situations.