According to a recent letter sent by the prison services commissioner, Ofra Klinger, to the Chief of Staff, the Minister of Defense, the Minister of Internal Security, and the Police Commissioner, Israel Prison Services (IPS) will no longer be able to absorb new security prisoners beginning next month. The reason given for the inability is due to the lack of support in manpower that the IPS is receiving from the army and the Knesset.
According to the letter, the Knesset has yet not issued a law allowing IPS to utilize and recruit soldiers for the purpose of providing security within the prisons for high level security prisoners. Additionally, Klinger claims that cutbacks in the defense budget are causing the IDF to consolidate manpower, and that includes sending fewer soldiers to serve as prison guards.
The inability to take in new prisoners will continue until the IPS is allowed to utilize conscripted soldiers in their prisons as is mandated by the law or another solution to the manpower problems is found.
According to the Security Services law, the IDF is allowed to use the IPS for all prison services needs, while the army is committed to supplying a sufficient amount of soldiers to work as guards in the prisons. However, in recent years the number of soldiers who serve in the prisons has become fewer and the number of security prisoners has risen.
Army Radio reports that, in the calendar years of 2013 and 2014, fewer than 700 soldiers were supplied by the IDF to work in prisons as opposed to the expected 1,000.
The IDF spokespersons office responded to the accusation by saying, “According to a standing order issued on December 31st, 2015, it is prohibited to send soldiers to work in prisons or as part of the Israeli police. During the cabinet meeting which was held on December 28th, the Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu directed that the Department of National Security set up a task force to determine how many soldiers will serve in the internal security organizations, such as the IPS and the police, according to the current needs and the renewal of the interim directive. According to the information that we have, these instructions will be issued in the coming days.”