Assisting the Probation Service in the use of electronic monitoring systems
One of the highest in Europe, the prison population in Turkey stood at around 120,000 in 2012. In many countries, electronic monitoring reduces the need to keep offenders in pretrial custody or for parts or all of their sentences as it enables judges to give non-custodial, community-based punishments as an alternative. In 2012, nearly 99,000 offenders were serving community-based sentences, supervised by a professional Probation Service. However current legislation does not allow the Probation Service to use electronic monitoring to supervise people facing trial or on parole. Studies show that 60,000 prisoners could be released pending trial were an electronic monitoring system in place.
The aims of the project and its core activities
As part of the general objective to prevent and reduce incidents of crime, the project aims to establish an effective and functional electronic monitoring system in Turkey in line with European standards. The project will be administered by the Director General of Prisons and Detention Houses at the Ministry of Justice.
In order to devise a system suited to Turkey’s needs, a one-year pilot programme will be conducted in 12 of the country’s 133 probation centres, which will be selected depending on different population densities.
To conduct the trials, which will be formulated following an examination of best practices in the EU, intervention teams will be trained for the 12 selected probation centres, which will receive all the required equipment. A central monitoring centre will also be established.
In advance of the pilot programme, the probation service will also formulate the necessary policies for implementing electronic monitoring, including procedures for breaches, registering new offenders, reporting arrangements, risk assessment and evaluation.
The experiences from these trials – in issues such as the ideal period of time for electronic monitoring, the conditions under which breaches are likely to happen, cultural problems that may be expected – will be considered when finalising the draft law on introducing electronic monitoring.