Turkish Justice Ministry to take on 11,000 new employees amid prison construction drive

As Turkey continues on its drive to construct dozens of new prisons, its Justice Ministry has announced it will require 11,078 new staff to be employed by the General Directorate of Prisons and Detention Centres.

The new personnel will include correctional officers, clerks, bailiffs and support staff, Turkish state-run Anadolu Agency quoted Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül as saying.

Earlier this month Turkish left-wing daily Sözcü reported that the ministry planned to spend $2 billion constructing 91 new prisons by 2021.

By 2023 Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government aims to build 193 new prisons, a figure that would raise its quota of prisons from just under 400 to 582 if none close, pro-government daily Hürriyet reported in March. This will significantly raise the capacity to house prisoners, which the general directorate placed at 211,838 people last December.

Turkey’s current prison population is proportionally the second highest in Europe, after a 161.7 percent explosion between 2006 and 2016, according to a Council of Europe report published in March 2018.

Turkey asked not to be included in the most recent Council of Europe report due to apparent data inconsistencies, but the figures may have been affected by two years of emergency rule between 2016 and 2018, during which thousands suspected of links to outlawed organisations were jailed.

As well as providing space to accommodate the large prison population, prison workhouses are a significant source of income for the ministry of justice, which has been estimated to earn hundreds of millions of dollars annually from over 58,000 working prisoners.