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Home arrow newsitems arrow CoE Expert Prof Aebi to EF on Penal Stats: Turkish Prison rate Booms, Supervision Grows, Cost Enigma

CoE Expert Prof Aebi to EF on Penal Stats: Turkish Prison rate Booms, Supervision Grows, Cost Enigma

Written by ACM
Tuesday, 20 March 2018
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*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- From the Data and the Replies given to Questions raised by "Eurofora" and/or Other Journalists during a Press Briefing at the CoE in Strasbourg by CoE's Penal Statistics' Director, Professor Marcelo Aebi from Lausanne University, Switzerland, on the Latest Annual Stats about Prisons and Alternative Supervision Measures, several, more or less UnExpected Realities emerge, revealing some, more or less, Astonishing Trends throughout the PanEuropean area of some 47 Countries (with just a few exceptions, only for this year) :

 

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TURKISH PRISON RATE BOOMS !
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- First of all, even if it was already known that Turkey was one of the Exceptional Cases as far as "Prison Population Rates" (i.e. the Number of Jailed People per 100.000 Inhabitants of a Country) are concerned, given the notoriously "Hot" situation of Human Rights there, Nevertheless, even Experienced Strasbourg Journalists following and publishing for Decades on CoE's activities, were Surprized to Find out that, Nowadays, Turkey has become the Unique Country monitored by the CoE with such a Fast Deterioration during a whole Decade, that its Prison Rates show, by Far, the Highest Increase of all, between 2006-2016 : + 161,7% !  

 

 coe_stats__turkish_prisoners_rate_booms_eurofora_shot_400

 

This is Contrary to the General Trend, which is slightly in Favor of Decreasing that Rate in 19 Countries, opposed to 18, during that Same Period. And it repesents a Very Exceptionaly Big Increase Compared to All Others : F.ex. nearly X 3 Times More than the Next Increasing National Rates, as that of Albania (+66%), etc.  (See relevant Graphic).

Moreover, the Full Extent of that Phenomenon has Not Yet been Officially Registered and Compared, Because, curiously, the Data concerning that Notorious Huge "Tsunami" of Massive Arrests of more than +150.000 Dissident People Jailed in Turkey, sooner of later, particularly After that Strange, Short-Lived : 6 Hours-Long alleged "Coup" Attempt of July 2016, was Not yet Included in these CoE's Statistics, for "Technical" Reasons, as Professor Aebi replied to a relevant question by a Turkish Collegue... Indeed, that "Trend" towards an Exceptionaly Big Increase of ImPrisonment's Rate was steadily Going-on, all-along that Latest Decade, he observed.


+ In Addition, Turkey has also the Fewer Short Duration Sentences imposed to Prisoners (Less than 3 Years : Only 7,4% in cumulative Percentage, But the Biggest such percentage of LONGER IMPRISONMENT Sentences : 3 to 10 Years or more, (being Bypassed, nevertheless, just by Moldova concerning 3 to 5 Years Jail terms : 88% compared to 82,6% in cumulative Percentage, as well as, Surprizingly : by ...Greece, concerning 5 to 9, and 10 or more Years : Respectively 76,5% and 50,1%, compared to 70,3% and 44,9% in cumulative Percentages of Imposed Sentences).


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"ALTERNATIVE", SUPERVISION MEASURES GROW TOO MUCH...
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However, in most European Countries, an Initial Push towards "Alternative" Measures to Imprisonment, Risks to become even a "Supplemetary Sanction", considering, particularly, the Fact that it has "Grown" too much, Recently, going so Far as even to Bypass the Number of Imprisonments :


- F.ex., already on September 2016 there were 1.505.187 Inmates, but More persons Condemned to be "Supervised" by "Agencies" in charge of so-called "Alternative" Measures to Imprisonment : 1.628.016, according to CoE's newest available Data.


+ Replying to an "Eurofora" Question, Professr Aebi clarified that such "Alternatives" to Imprisonment or "Supervision" Measures concern, in real Practice,  a Large Variety of Concrete Techniques and/or Methods, Nowadays :


- F.ex., in Addition to Electronic Tagging ("Bracelet Eletronic" in French), they Include also "Community Serving" sanctions, (f.ex. Work for General Interest Tasks), Monitoring by Phone-Calls, Obligations to Visit Regularly the closest Police Offices, "House Arrest", Confiscation of Travel Documents (as Passports), etc...

- But "No" Electronic "Chips"' Implants, CoE's Penal Statistics' Director, clearly Excluded.


=> Could, such "Monitoring" Measures, and their Bigger than Expected Growth, eventually hide also a Risk for a Trend towards a Dangerously Wide-Spread "Supervision" of too Many People by certain "Agencies", sometimes even with more or less Controversial Methods ?


Professor Aebi's alert, seems, apparently, to Warn about an eventual such risk, in the foreseable Future.


However, a French Collegue Journalist, smiling bitterly, observed to "Eurofora" :  - "In Fact, something like that, has almost started to exist, in real practice, in one way or another, for ...All of Us !"... And she Noded affirmatively, when, in response, we pointed, half-joking, half-seriously, inter alia, simply ...Our "Smart-Phones" !

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IMPRISONMENT COSTS' ENIGMA...
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 + Last, but not least, concerning the Material Conditions of "Life in Prisons", "Eurofora" also Questioned the CoE's Top Expert about his Team's astonishing Findings that, in fact, the Amounts of Money spent by 1 Prisoner/Day ranged, already as early as since 2016, from about 6 € (in Moldova), up to ... 359 € (in Sweden) :


 =>  i.e. a Difference of More than X 600 %, (= almost X 60 Times more, or less), from one European Country to anOther !


 - A Volume Level which is, obviously, Much Bigger even than the Differences between the Lower permitted Salaries ("SMIG" in France) throughout Various EU Countries :


=> Which are, Already, Too HIgh : F.ex., "only", about 500 €, compared to almost 1.5OO € per Month, i.e. a Difference of some X 3 Times Bigger Minimum Salary, (naturally indicating also, at least Partly, the general Cost of Everyday Life in a given Country), as "Eufora" reminded, withOut being bellied at all...


 - Why ?


 - Professor Aebi Replied, mainly, that the above-mentioned, much Bigger Difference in Costs (Comp. Supra), should, probably, be due to the Fact that, particularly several "Scandinavian Countries", (such as Sweden, etc), would have much "More Social Security" mechanisms than Other EU Countries, etc.


+ But also, probably, to the Additional Fact  that, mostly these Same "Nordic" Countries, use to "Invest More" in various "Infrastructures, Staff", etc., concerning also Prisons, while, almost at the Same Time, their Occupancy is much "Lower" than in Other EU Countries, as he added.


Indeed, - to take the Same Examples cited Above - in Moldova, the "Ratio of Inmates per total Custodial Staff" was, f.ex., on 2016, the Biggest of all in Europe : 9,9. While, on the Contrary, that of Sweden was one among the Lowest : Only 1,3 !


Such a Reasoning seems also Proven (almost "Ad Absurdum") in the particular Case of ... San Marino : Having Only such a "Ratio" of just 0,4, (i.e. : the Lowest of all), it was Registered as if it Spended, in Fact, an "Average Daily Expense per Inmate" of as much as 707,92 € ...     

 
However, there are also Various Other European Countries, which have also Low "Ratios of Inmates per ... Custodial Staff", (such as, f.ex., Monaco, with Only such a Ratio Prisoner/Staff as 0,9, and Ireland, with 1,6 added to Cyprus with just 1,8, which doN't Spend more than ...81 €, 188 €, or 73,5 €, Respectively, in their "Average Daily Expense per Inmate" on 2016...


=> Thus, it seems that there might, perhaps, be added also some Other Factors, in order to produce those Astonishingly Different Prison Costs per Inmate, already cited above.


Indeed, (Reacted in fine Professor Aebi, to "Eurofora"s above-mentioned Factual Observations), to put it in a NutShell, it all looks as that Film by Michael Moore, called  : - "Who to Invade Next ?", which, naturally, points towards Countries such as Norway !...


(../..)


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Facing a 70% Abstention threat in 2009 Election, EU endorses EuroFora's idea for Citizens' debates on crucial EU decisions !

- Different views on "Europe's Future", should be debated among Citizens at June 2009 EU Elections, thanks to political Parties' "Manifestos", says EU Parliament's Report


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
A main idea, initiated and promoted by EuroFora's founders since 1997: the vital need to develop European Citizens' democratic right to actively participate in multilingual debates on EU decisions, is formally endorsed by the EU from 2009 !

The move is a key attempt to overcome "catastrophic" Polls which warn that only ...30% of Citizens are ready to vote in the forthcoming June 2009 EU Election !  This was revealed by EU Commission's vice-president, in charge of Communication policy, Margot Wallstrom, during a "hot" meeting of EU Parliament's Committee on Culture and Education, during the December 2008 Strasbourg session.

Wallstrom faced criticism, but also suggestions from various MEPs, naturally worried by Abstention threats which herself found even "worse" than in 1999 or 2004...

A Report on "Active Dialogue with Citizens",examined at the same time, presented some useful practical tips, on "facilitating Interviews"; etc., but also a  potentialy important call to "incorporate the conclusions of ...debates...into (EU) policies, and take into consideration the expectations that Citizens have of the EU when deciding". An amendment even implies that Citizens' participation in debates on EU decisions is a democratic "Right".

More importantly, it finds that  a Debate "on the Future of Europe", (as French President Nicolas Sarkozy has asked since 2007), would be a good idea " for the 2009 European parliamentary Elections", because "clarifying the political differences between the EU political parties would help citizens to identify themselves with, and choose between various concepts", for which "all parties (should) present their Manifesto".

A "Joint political declaration on Communicating Europe in Partnership", co-signed by "the European Parliament, Council and ... Commission", confirms that they "attach the utmost importance to improving communication on EU issues", by "enabling European citizens to exercise their right to participate in the democratic life of the Union, in which decisions are taken as openly as possible and as closely as possible to the citizens, observing the principles of pluralism, participation, openness and transparency".

This should "enable Citizens to exercise their right to express their views and to participate actively in the public Debate on European Union issues", while also "promoting the respect of multilingualism". In this regard, EU confirms its "wish to develop synergies with national, regional and local authorities as well as with representatives of Civil Society".

    It's since 1997 that a group of EuroFora's founders have officially presented a pioneer Project (then called "EIW", for "Europe in the World"), which aimed to develop Strasbourg's "Polyphonic music", by providing "Interactive information", on "main issues ... during the Decision-making process of European Organizations which engage in Transparent and Public Democratic Debates"

    This should be done, inter alia, by "exploring the potential of New Communication Tools (mainly Internet)", as well as classic-form debates, the 1997 EIW pioneer project's anounced in its "Synopsis". It was formally "accepted for evaluation" by EU Commission in Brussels in order to be examined for a grant in the framework of the "Research/Technology/Development (RTD) Programme in the field of Information Technologies", then called "ESPRIT", as a "Best Practice Pilot Project".

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        But the vital, urgent Political need for EU to search new, efficient ways to reach the People and interact with European Citizens, was really felt in Brussels and elsewhere only after the unprecedented in History 1999 and 2004 Majority Abstention in EU Elections, followed by 3 "NO" in Referenda in France, the Netherlands and Ireland, on 2005 and 2008...
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    On 2006 we presented in Public its main lines during Questions/Replies that we raised at two Press Conferences by EU Commission President, Jose Baroso, and mainly EU Commission's vice-President, in charge of Communication policy, Margot Wallstrom, together with EU Parliament's vice-president, Alejo Vidal-Quadras, in Strasbourg, (Videos available), and we reminded it at various brief contacts with Commissioner Wallstrom in 2007 and 2008.

    Meanwhile, a new Text was also presented for "EuroFora" Project mainly to certain Political and other personalities, at European, National or Regional/Local level, mainly in 2007, but also in 2008..

    Now, after the unexpected 2008 Irish "NO", and before the 2009 EU Elections, which are due to be of exceptionally crucial importance for Europe's Future, the moment has obviously come to launch that project, progressively, but in real practice.

    Whoever really cares for Europe and its Citizens is welcome to join, in one way or another. Only anti-European, anti-democratic, obscure or ignorant groups might oppose or attempt to "steal" and deviate the main idea.

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