Israel’s prisons overcrowded with 15K detainees

The number of detainees and prisoners in detention facilities in Israel increased by almost 900 between February and May this year, reaching about 15,000 this month, local media reported.

At the end of 2021, there were 13,600 prisoners, 14,084 in February which rose to 14,961 in the last week, according to information obtained by the NGO Hatzlacha from the prison administration.

The reasons for this, among others, are waves of arrests in Arab society, mainly for weapons offenses, and the reduction in the use of administrative release since the Knesset tightened the use of the procedure.

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As a result of the increase in the number of detainees, prisoners are now overcrowded and not subject to the 2017 Supreme Court ruling, which requires the state to allocate a minimum living space for each prisoner.

“The restriction is mainly due to the fact that the Knesset this year banned the early release of prisoners convicted of serious violence, domestic violence, and sex crimes,” Professor Oren Gazal-Ayal, an expert in criminal law told Haaretz.

The number of Palestinian prisoners in the occupation prisons is about 4,450, including about 530 administrative detainees, according to the organization specializing in prisoner affairs.

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