Turkey built over 90 prisons in five years, justice minister says

Turkey has built 94 prisons in the last five years, bringing the total number of correctional facilities in the country to 355, Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül said on Saturday.

The prisons hold 232,342 sentenced inmates and 48,752 more awaiting trial, news site Artı Gerçek quoted Gül as saying.

“A decision has been made to solve the problems of overcrowding in Turkish prisons and increase the number of modern facilities,” Gül said, adding that the government was also looking to shut down prisons no longer compatible with modern facilities and are not conducive to sufficient education and rehabilitation efforts. 

In April, Turkey passed a law paving the way for 90,000 inmates – a third of the country’s prison population – in a bid to reduce the coronavirus pandemic’s threat to overcrowded prisons.

The number of inmates in Turkey soared following the July 2016 coup attempt, when the government detained tens of thousands in an extensive crackdown on dissent.

Turkey ranks second in the incarceration rate – the number of people in prison per 100,000 of population – among OECD countries, according to a report published in May 2019.