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Turkey's Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin has announced plans for construction of 207 new prisons over the next five years. Ergin said that 75 of these were at the construction stage, 53 at the project stage, 50 of them at the planning stage, and 29 of them were at the bidding stage.
The prison system in Turkey has a capacity of 147,304 and currently houses 131,649 convicts and detainees, according to the information provided by Ergin.
Ergin’s explanation regarding the state of affairs in the country’s prisons came in response to a written motion submitted by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Antalya deputy Gürkut Acar, Anadolu Agency reported yesterday.
Ergin pointed out that the percentage of prisoners who were detainees had dropped from a high in 2001 of 50.4 percent to the level of 21.6 percent, with the total number of detained prisoners at 28,520 as of June 2013.
Ergin drew attention to the fact that when it was taken into consideration that around 3 million criminal cases were processed ever year, the percentage actually dropped to 0.95 percent.
According to data released by the London-based International Centre for Prison Studies, Turkey’s 21.6 percent detainee rate puts its prison development ahead of European countries like Switzerland, the Netherlands and France, Ergin stated.
Long detention periods have been one of the main areas of criticism Turkey’s EU progress reports as a candidate for full membership over the years.
Meanwhile, Ergin noted that over 97.5 million Turkish Liras had been spent over the last 10 years on the restoration of prisons and that numerous small provincial prisons throughout the country had been closed as a result of their inadequate facilities. Hurriyet Daily News
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