Turkey records highest number of inmates, detainees in Europe in 2020 - CoE

A total of 984 out of every 100,000, or 0.98 percent, of Turkey’s population were either in prison or on probation on January 31 2020, the Council of Europe said on Tuesday, citing new data on the use of probation across Europe. 

Turkey had the highest reported rate across Europe and more than three times that of the European median figure of 265 prisoners and probationers per 100,000 inhabitants, it said.

Turkey registered a 6.1 percent increase in the number of people on probation between 2019 and 2020, according to the report.

In the aftermath of the failed coup attempt of July 2016, Ankara, has intensified a crackdown, imprisoning around 77,000 people on terror charges.

In April of last year, Turkish parliament passed a law, allowing for the release of one third of the country’s prisoners to ease overcrowding in jails and protect detainees from the coronavirus pandemic.

The countries with the highest number of probationers for every 100,000 inhabitants on 31 January 2020 were Poland (643), Turkey (627), Lithuania (568) and Georgia (562); this compares to a European median of 149 probationers for every 100,000 inhabitants.

Georgia, Lithuania and Turkey had remarkably high prison and probation rates in January 2020, which was above the European median.

The high prison and probation rates could be an indicator that community sanctions and measures are being used not as alternatives to imprisonment but as supplementary sanctions, the report said.