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Justice Ministry says Turkey building 137 new prisons

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Turkey has been building 137 new prisons with a capacity to house 88,367 inmates, according to the Justice Ministry, the Gazete Duvar news website reported.

As of early July the country had 353 prisons with a 218,950-inmate capacity, the ministry said in response to a parliamentary question submitted by Onursal Adıgüzel, a Republican People’s Party deputy.

In the last two years 45 district prisons were closed and 27 new facilities that can accommodate 16,500 inmates were opened, the ministry said.

The ministry, meanwhile, declined to disclose the cost of the new prisons.

According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) data, 318 out of every 100,000 people are in jail in Turkey, Adıgüzel said, adding that Turkey ranks third after United States and Israel.

Adıgüzel also criticized the government for awarding tenders for new prison facilities to pro-government construction firms.

As of January, Turkish prison were 121 percent over capacity, according to the ministry.

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