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Mgebrishvili intends to control prisons better

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Tuesday, October 14
Minister of Corrections Giorgi Mghebrishvili reports that the penitentiary department will undergo systemic reforms.

“Our team is starting fundamental reform in the penitentiary system. It involves the full integration and subordination of the department to the ministry. After the reform we will have a powerful body under political and civil control. Our goal is to have qualified staff, create a safe environment in the system and ensure the full rehabilitation of convicts,” stated Mghebrishvili after his meeting with non-governmental organizations and human rights defenders on October 13.

According to the minister, he will introduce changes in two weeks. “After, parliament will vote on the draft law,” stated Mghebrishvili.

Executive Director of Transparency-International Georgia, Eka Gigauri, assessed the changes positively. According to her, the amendments will positively influence the penitentiary system.

“When those two systems were separated under the previous government there was a negative result. The aim of the division was decreasing control on prisons, and in my opinion that was wrong, because the ministry practically lost control over prisons,” stated Gigauri.

Head of the Centre for Human Rights Aleko Tskitishvili confirmed that problems in the penitentiary system are partly caused due to the lack of control of the ministry on prisons.

“If the changes are carried out correctly, it will bring a lot of benefits,” stated Tskitishvili.

Barrister Gela Nikolaishvili said that they have been talking about this topic for a long time. “Of course the changes are needed; the older system has failed. Now the most important thing is to create a monitoring team and compose it with relevant members,” stated Nikolaishvili.

A new first deputy minister was also appointed. Mghebrishvili officially appointed Kakha Kakhishvili on the post on October 13.

Kakhishvili will move into public service after working in the non-governmental sector. Before taking the post, he was the director of the Political Technology Research Centre.

The position of the first deputy minister has been vacant since former Deputy Minister Giga Giorgadze left the post.