Some 49 prisoners have died while behind bars since the beginning of the year, according to figures from the Human Rights Association (İHD) Central Prison Commission.
Some 1,564 sick inmates are currently held in prison while 591of them are seriously ill, according to the İHD's Dilan Ateş.
“Today, this number has increased according to our findings. However, we know that the number of sick prisoners is much higher than these findings. Unfortunately, no data whatsoever is shared by the Ministry of Justice regarding sick prisoners,” Ateş said.
Claims have arisen that 15 of the 49 people who died in jail this year committed suicide, while one prisoner was released on the day he died in the hospital.
“Most of the sick prisoners cannot go to the hospitals because they do not want to stay in quarantine wards. In addition to [these prisoners] not being able to survive on their own, in some places the quarantine wards are turned into quarantine cell-sized rooms by the administration. These rooms are unhygienic and too narrow and stuffy to the point where it is impossible to breathe,” Ateş said.
“It is clear that the quarantine wards—where sick prisoners are held for 14 days after returning from the hospital—pose a great danger,” Ateş added.