‘New jail won’t aid in­mate num­ber prob­lem’

Cyprus Today - - NEWS -

GROW­ING law­less­ness in the TRNC, largely caused by a chang­ing and grow­ing pop­u­la­tion, can­not be solved sim­ply by pu­n­ish­ing of­fend­ers, a lead­ing lawyer has said — as con­cerns were voiced that even a new jail be­ing built will not be suf­fi­cient to house the prison pop­u­la­tion.

Pres­i­dent of the Bar As­so­ci­a­tion Hasan Esendağlı (pic­tured) said: “Im­pos­ing penal­ties on of­fend­ers is not enough to pre­vent crime. The is­sue is not that sim­ple and cer­tain mea­sures need to be taken by the gov­ern­ment.

“Ef­fec­tive im­mi­gra­tion and res­i­dency checks should be car­ried out so the au­thor­i­ties have ac­cu­rate in­for­ma­tion about the de­mo­graphic struc­ture of the pop­u­la­tion and par­tic­u­larly about new­com­ers to the coun­try.

“Psy­cho­log­i­cal, so­ci­o­log­i­cal, eco­nomic and other causes of crime should be de­ter­mined with poli­cies then adopted to tackle the root causes.

“A res­o­lu­tion of the is­sue is long over­due.”

Some 550 in­mates are cur­rently housed in Le­fkoşa’s Cen­tral Prison, built to ac­com­mo­date 175, but a new, 75 mil­lion TL prison at Minare­liköy, ca­pa­ble of ac­com­mo­dat­ing 765 in­mates, is sched­uled for com­ple­tion in May.

In­te­rior Min­istry un­der­sec­re­tary Omer Köseoğlu con­firmed the long-awaited fa­cil­ity would be de­signed and built to mod­ern, in­ter­na­tional stan­dards.

The news, how­ever, was not greeted with en­thu­si­asm by the leader of prison warders’ union Hak-Sen, İzzet Türk­men, who said: “With 550 in­mates al­ready in the cur­rent prison, which was de­signed for 175, ca­pac­ity at the new one will be in­suf­fi­cient. The ex­ist­ing prison should be up­dated and used only to ac­com­mo­date peo­ple on re­mand and other de­tainees who have not been con­victed.”

Güven Bengi­han, head of the Ktams pub­lic sec­tor trade union which has mem­bers among the prison staff, also pre­dicted that the new prison would fail to meet the TRNC’s grow­ing num­ber of of­fend­ers un­less im­mi­gra­tion law was amended.

“Be­cause of a fail­ure to con­trol peo­ple com­ing into the coun­try there has been an in­crease in crim­i­nal­ity and the new fa­cil­ity will be too small to cope,” he said.

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