Prisons in Turkey run over capacity as prisoner population on sharp rise
DHA PhotoTurkey’s prisons are operating beyond capacity as the number of prisoners has witnessed a sharp rise in the past decade, according to figures from the country’s Justice Ministry.
Some 184,494 convicts and detainees are currently incarcerated in 361 prisons in Turkey that only have a capacity for 179,883 inmates, daily Habertürk reported on March 1, citing Turkish Justice Ministry data.
Data revealed that the entire population of Turkish prisoners is more than 100,000 higher than that of 10 years ago.
Turkey has 290 closed prisons, 60 semi-open prisons, two children’s education houses, five closed prisons for female inmates, an open prison for female inmates and three closed prisons for juvenile inmates, according to data.
Data revealed that a total of 169 prisons have been closed down over the past eight years, while the Justice Ministry is reportedly considering opening campus-style prison complexes that would be composed of multiple retreats to host large numbers of prisoners.
At the same time, the ministry aims to reduce the number of prisons in the country and the expenditures for operating jails so as to ultimately reduce prison expenses on the state budget.
Men comprise the vast majority of the Turkish prison population with 175,445 currently behind bars, equaling 95 percent of the total number of inmates, data revealed. In contrast, there are just 6,616 women in jail, representing 3.5 percent of the nationwide prisoner population, according to data. At the same time, there are also 2,433 minors in jail.
Some 86 percent of the prison population also consists of convicts, with the remainder, around 26,000, remaining in jail under arrest.
“The high rate of rise in the number of prisoners shows that our government’s fight against crime and criminals has been successful,” Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ said, underscoring that construction work for campus-style prison complexes would be accelerated so that new prison complexes would have high capacities.
The number of members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the outlawed Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), the PKK’s umbrella organization, currently in Turkish prison totals 6,592, the highest among those who are under incarceration for terrorism offensives.
There are just 518 people in Turkish jails for activities related to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), with the data failing to reveal the breakdown between convicts and arrestees within the number, according to data.
Data also showed the number of those who in prison on charges related to the purported terrorist organization the Turkish administration calls the “Fethullahist Terrorist Organization” (FETÖ/PDY) as 366. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his inner circle accuse U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen of forming and heading FETÖ to topple the Turkish government, with alleged members of the group working as insiders at police and other state institutions.