Turkey releases 3,000 more convicts to open up space in prisons

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By means of new decrees issued on Friday, 3,000 more convicts will be released immediately on probation unless they were convicted of terrorism, sexual crimes or coup involvement.

In addition, a total of 10,000 convicts will move from closed to open prisons. Last August, Turkey had released 38,000 convicts from prisons to make room for victims of an ongoing purge in overcrowded jails.

Earlier this month, the Turkish Justice Ministry announced that out of 381 prisons in Turkey, 139 of them were built in the last 10 years and 38 were constructed last year.

Currently 201,177 prisoners are being held in the prison system, 2,800 of whom are children between 12 and 17 years of age held in juvenile facilities.

Justice Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Basri Bağcı informed Parliament in May that Turkish prisons are currently 9 percent over capacity, saying that some inmates have to sleep in shifts.

“There are currently 221,607 inmates in prisons. Prison capacity is 203,000, making them 9 percent over capacity,” said Bağcı during a presentation to the parliamentary Human Rights Investigation Commission.

Bağcı also said the government plans to increase prison capacity by 11,000 by the end of 2017. Seventy-six prisons are under construction, 113 prisons are in process and 18 more are planned.

Tens of thousands of people are replacing real criminals in Turkey’s prisons as a result of the purge that has been targeting journalists, businesspeople, academics and others from all walks of life without due process.

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