Private time with spouse has positive impact on prisoners: Justice Ministry
Oya Armutçu – ANKARATurkey’s Justice Ministry has praised a 2013 policy to reward well-behaved convicts and arrestees with a “pink room” – a room to spend time with their spouses in private – for having a positive impact on prisoners. A total of 54,002 convicts were rewarded with pink room visits over the past three years, the ministry said.
“An evaluation of comments from institutions reveal that private meetings with spouses have positive impacts on convicts and that convicts attend more trainings and improvement activities to be rewarded,” a report sent to parliament by the Justice Ministry said, adding the meetings improved communication between spouses and had a positive effect on the institution of family.
The report also said the pink room policy had attracted an increasing number of convicts, as the number of prisoners who were rewarded with a private room rose from a total of 9,204 in 2013 to 23,984 in 2015.
Over the first month of 2016 alone, 1942 convicts benefited from the policy.
The newly-developing policy to provide a range of rewards for prisoners was launched in 2013, and the options include using a pink room, having additional phone calls, increasing visitor hours, having an open prison visit instead of a closed one or television allowance inside rooms.
According to the report, the most popular reward has been the additional phone call, as a total of 102,722 convicts benefited from it over the past three years.
Meanwhile, 81,080 prisoners opted to increase visitor hours, 45,614 asked for an open visit and 2,964 convicts wanted a television set.
A combined total of 311,481 convicts benefited from some form of reward as of January 2016, the ministry said.
Inspired by similar practices abroad, the Justice Ministry launched the pink room policy for married convicts and their spouses some three years ago, enabling couples to stay in these rooms for up to 24 hours.
The practice came under spotlight on March 2015, when a convict killed his wife during a “pink room visit” in the Central Anatolian province of Sivas.
The woman, Leyla Aslan, was killed by Metin Avcı, who claimed to have killed Aslan using a small knife that was brought in a basket of fruit served to the room from the prison authorities.
Meanwhile, the country’s first “pink room baby” was born in 2014.