Turkey’s prison population sees 14 pct increase in 2018 – report

Theft led the way in crimes committed in Turkey in 2018, when the prison population in the country rose by 14 percent, political fact-checking website Doğruluk Payı reported citing figures from  the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK).

Of the 267,000 people behind bars in 2018, 17 percent were found guilty of theft and burglary, 12.4 percent of inflicting bodily injury and 6.7 percent of drug-related crimes, it said.

Of the 128,000 people imprisoned in 2011,  a total of 27.8 percent were in pre-trial detention, as opposed to being convicted of a crime. This figure dropped to 14 percent in 2014 before soaring to 36.2 percent in 2016, according to TÜİK figures.

The number of inmates in Turkey soared following the July 2016 coup attempt, after which the government detained tens of thousands in a wide-ranging crackdown on dissent.

Turkey ranks second in the incarceration rate, the number of people in prison per 100,000 of population, with the United States at the top among OECD countries, according to a report published earlier this year. As of May 2019, the incarceration rate in Turkey was 318 prisoners per 100,000.

The percentage of those awaiting trial under arrest dropped to as low as 21 percent in 2018, the Doğruluk Payı report found. 

Crimes committed by minors aged 12 to 17 quadrupled during the same year, the report said.

The number of children who entered Turkish prisons in 2012 was 3,069, with the number soaring to 14,502 in 2018, it said.