Prison incidents increased by 40 pct in 2011, data show

April 10, 2012, Tuesday/ 14:07:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

The number of incidents that occurred in prisons increased by 40 percent in 2011 over 2010, data recently released by the Gendarmerie General Command (JGK) have revealed.

According to the data, there are currently 129,516 people in prisons in Turkey. The vast majority, 117,500, are imprisoned on criminal charges, 3,257 on charges of membership in a criminal organization and 8,250 are imprisoned on charges of terrorism.

In its analysis, the JGK concluded that prisoners started 2,270 separate incidents in 2011. Twenty-eight percent of the incidents were politically motivated, and the remaining 72 percent were criminal in nature.

Criminal incidents that occurred in prisons involved attempted jailbreaks, attacks on other inmates and suicide attempts. The number of attacks on inmates rose from 328 in 2010 to 395 in 2011. The number of escape attempts was 38 last year, down from 92 in 2010.

One hundred ninety-five inmates died in prisons in 2010 and 209 died in 2011. The number of suicide attempts was 382 in 2010, which increased to 410 in 2011. The data further showed that officials seized 4,500 grams of cannabis, 623 SIM cards, 266 cellular phones, 145 batteries, 60 knives and sharp objects and 17 bullet cartridges in security checks.

The JGK, currently responsible for security in prisons, will transfer this authority to the Ministry of Justice within the next five years as part of Turkey's ongoing harmonization with EU standards.

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