Parliament approves bill that will release 15,000 prisoners on probation

April 06, 2012, Friday/ 15:16:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Parliament passed a bill on Thursday to amend the Law on Conditional Release, which governs the conditions of a prisoner's release, meaning that roughly 15,000 prisoners currently held in open prisons with only a year left of their sentences will be released on probation.

The bill was approved by the Cabinet and sent to Parliament last month. The amendment will only apply to prisoners who were not convicted of terrorism charges or involvement in organized crime. The aim of the change is to assist convicts in making a smooth transition back into society and to reduce the risk of their re-engaging in criminal activity after release.

According to statistics released by the government in February 2012, there are 129,340 individuals -- including convicts (93,000) and those detained pending trial (36,000) -- in prisons across the country.

Turkey's prison facilities are operating over capacity and are far from meeting the justice system's needs. The Justice Ministry is looking to improve prisons in the country, Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin told the press last month.

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