Record number of people behind bars in Turkey, data shows
ISTANBUL – Demirören News Agency
The number and ratio of imprisoned people in Turkey have soared in recent years, data from the country’s statistical authority has shown.
The prison population across Turkey was 264,842 on Dec. 31, 2018, with an increase of 14 percent compared to the same date in 2017, the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) said in a statement on Dec. 5.
“While the number of people in prison per 100,000 was 188 on Dec. 13, 2013, the figure on the same day reached 288 in 2017, and 323 in 2018 with a steady increase,” TÜİK said.
“Meanwhile, 401 of every 100,000 people over the age of 12 were placed in a prison at the end of 2018,” it added.
Second highest rate in OECD rankings
Turkey ranks second after the United States among 36 countries in terms of incarceration rate per 100,000 of national population, according to the latest OECD data.
The figure was recorded as 655 in the United States, 318 in Turkey, 234 in Israel, 231 in Chile and 214 in New Zealand, whereas the lowest figures were in Iceland with 37, Japan with 41, Finland with 51, Sweden with 59 and the Netherlands with 61.
Thieves make majority
Nearly 79 percent of Turkey’s prison population were in the status of convict, and the rest of them were under arrest, TÜİK also said.
The 96 percent of the prison population consisted of men.
The number of entrance records of convicts between Jan.1 and Dec. 31, 2018 was 266,889. The number of discharge record of convicts between the same dates was 215,170.
The number of jailed juveniles (12-17 age group) was 2,095 with an annual increase of about 2 percent. However, when the date of the committed crime was considered, the number of juvenile prisoners increased by 23 percent in a year, hitting 14,502.
When the major punishment was taken into account in cases of conviction over multiple crimes, 17 percent of the convicts behind bars were thieves. Assailants and drug dealers followed by 12 and 7 percent, respectively. Some 6 percent of the prison population was convicted of opposition to the Bankruptcy and Enforcement Law. Murderers made up nearly 4 percent of the convicts.