‘New jail won’t aid inmate number problem’
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.