The law will transfer administrative control of the country's 373 prisons and require the Ministry of Justice to develop a dedicated cadre of prison wardens to replace the 17,000 gendarmerie personnel who are currently tasked with maintaining prison order. The draft law authorizes the ministry to employ 24,500 security personnel to oversee Turkey's approximately 101,000 inmate-strong prison population. The law gives the proposed security officials authority to use force and carry firearms in a way similar to existing prison regulations.
If the legislation is approved by the Cabinet, it will be referred to Parliament for debate. The legislation comes as fears of frequent inmate abuse by gendarmerie officials and concerns of overcrowding grow in Turkey's prisons. A report as early as 2008 by the parliamentary Commission on Human Rights warned against deteriorating conditions in the country's prisons after officials visited prisons in Ankara, Sincan, Kalecik, Edirne and Tekirdağ. The report also called for an expansion of prison personnel and facilities to deal with the growing number of inmates, which has more than doubled from 48,000 in 2000 to over 100,000 in 2008.