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NGOs ask Minister of Corrections to restore public monitoring in prisons

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, August 7
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have asked the newly promoted Minister of Corrections and Probation of Georgia, Kakha Kakhishvili, to restore public monitoring mechanism in prisons, which was abolished after the National Preventive Mechanism was created.

NGOs stated their notes and recommendations towards the penitentiary system at the closed meeting held on August 6 in the Ministry, which was initiated by the Minister himself, who served in the civil sector until taking the deputy minister and then a minister position of the ministry.

The meeting was attended by the representatives of nearly 40 NGOs.

According to the third sector, as the prisons are closed institutions, there are more violations of human rights, especially of women prisoners, which are often unrevealed.

They asked the minister to restore independent, public monitoring mechanism, which will protect the rights of inmates.

“The creation of public monitoring mechanism in penitentiary system is very important; NGOs should have a right to enter prisons by planned or unplanned visits and see the shortcomings and deficiencies of the system,” stated the Head of Young Lawyer’s association, Ana Natsvlishvili.

The Minister noted that such mechanism already exists and it is carried out by National Preventive Mechanism of the Public defender but agreed to hold further discussions about the issue in the future.

Khakhishvili said he is not against of public monitoring in prisons but emphasized that first of all existing standards in prisons should be maintained for it is a closed system.

“We should maintain the standards which exist in prisons, because it is a closed system and the people, who will be allowed to visit prisoners should have proper qualification and experience in the field,” the minister stated.

He also expressed the wish that such meetings be held regularly, in order to make the system more transparent and refined.

Moreover, the minister presented the public sector all works and changes which are being carried out in the penitentiary system, NGOs informed.

In the whole, the NGOs assessed the meeting positively and said that the meeting itself was the message that the Ministry is eager to cooperate with them.

The third sector hopes that they will reach an agreement with the ministry about the restoration of public monitoring mechanism in prisons.