Some 300 security prisoners and 700 criminal prisoners are expected to be released on December 20, if the Knesset passes a bill meant to improve conditions at prisons by reducing the number of inmates.
The bill is the result of a ruling by the High Court of Justice, which ordered the Israel Prison Service (IPS) to improve the living conditions of prisoners. The IPS, however, has been having difficulties implementing the decision.
According to the bill, which will be brought to a vote during the Knesset's upcoming winter session, prisoners with up to a 20-years sentence will have two to seven months reduced from their time.
At present, if the IPS exceeds its quotas, the IPS commissioner may reduce a prisoner's time by one week for every six months he was sentenced to.
According to the proposed bill, the IPS will be authorized to free prisoners regardless of the quotas as well as double, triple and even quadruple the time reduced from prisoners' sentence based on the original length of the sentence.
Prisoners with a six months sentence will automatically receive a two weeks reduction in sentence, instead of one week. Those jailed for a year will get a four weeks reduction in sentence instead of two weeks, and so forth.
After the bill is passed, the IPS, with the approval of the commissioner, will be able to release prisoners who have served the time needed to make them eligible for administrative early release.
The bill is expected to pass until December 20 this year, at which time 1,000 prisoners will be released, including 300 security prisoners.
Among the improvements the High Court of Justice ordered the IPS to make in prisoners' living conditions was increasing the cells in size, to at least 3 square meters by March 2018 and at least 4.5 square meters by December 2018.
To ensure each prisoner receives 4.5 square meters, the IPS said it would need approximately 6,200 additional cells.
The bill can be brought to a vote in its second and third readings only after an agreement is reached between the Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan and the Finance Ministry.