A total of 11 different laws are amended by Law No. 7242 published in the Official Gazette on 15.04.2020. In this article, we have briefly reviewed these amendments.
1. Prison sentence lengths for some crimes have been increased for the purpose of arousing deterrence.
Within this framework, the felony of battery that committed with “monstrous motive” has been accepted as aggravated battery and the maximum sentence lengths of the crime that is committed in this way is increased to 18 years. Prison sentence lengths for establishment, management and membership of a criminal organization and criminal usury have been increased.
2. Decisions on the enforcement process are to be issued by the enforcement judge, instead of the judge that sentence.
It is aimed to make effective and ensure specialization by assigning new duties for the enforcement judges. To file a complaint against the decisions of the public prosecutor regarding the enforcement process and security measures has become possible. The new duties of enforcement judges will be effective from 01.09.2020. Until this date, the existing duties and powers of the criminal courts will continue.
3. Some improvements have been made regarding the execution of criminal and alternative sanctions.
Improvements have been made on many issues regarding enforcement conditions for convicts with permanent illness or disability, sentenced pregnant and child, and elderly convicts. The conditions are eased in many areas such as accepting gifts, excuse permits, using the library, free work in a publicly beneficial job. Additionally, the conditions to pass semi-custodial prison were redefined and the approval of the enforcement judge was brought in terms of some important crimes.
4. The scope of convicts whose sentences are to be executed according to special procedures has been expanded.
The 6-month limit on the execution of prison sentences over the weekend, at night, or at house is increased to 1 year and 6 months for intentionally conducted crimes and to 3 years for unintentionally conducted crimes except for causing death. The limit on the execution of prison sentences at home for women, children and elderly convicts has been increased. The opportunity to postpone the execution of sentences of pregnant women up to 1.5 years has become possible. The execution of prison sentences of patient and disabled convicts at home has become possible depending on forensic medicine report.
5. The duration of convicts' stay in prison has been reduced by reducing requirements of leaving on probation.
Required rates of condition release has been reduced from 2/3 to half (1/2) as a rule. In terms of habitual criminals and organized crime, the required rate has been reduced from 3/4 to 2/3. However, for drug trafficking and sexual assault, terrorism, voluntary manslaughter, aggravated battery crimes, crimes against private life, crimes against government secrets, and persecution crimes the current conditional release rates have not been changed.
6. Temporary amendments have been made due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
In terms of crimes committed until 30.03.2020, 1-year probation period is increased to 3 years. However, terrorism, drug trafficking, sexual assault, voluntary manslaughter, aggravated battery crimes, crimes against women, persecution crimes and crimes against private life is exempted from this amendment.
In addition to this, some temporary amendments such as extending probation period have been introduced for women convicts with children under the age of six, for convicts who have completed their sixty-five years of age and who have not been able to sustain their lives alone in prison due to their severe illness, disability or dementia.
An amendment has been made to allow leaving on semi-custodial prison for those who show good behavior in custodial imprisonment institutions that still have one year to be sent to semi-custodial prison.
Convicts in semi-custodial prison and convicts who are on probation have been considered on leave until 31.05.2020. It is also regulated that this period can be extended by the Ministry of Justice 3 times not to exceed two months each time, with the recommendation of the Ministry of Health.