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Open Society Georgia report admits improvements in prisons, speaks about challenges

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, October 4
Open Society Georgia has released a report on how Georgia has combated torture and inhumane treatment in prisons over the course of the last five years.

The report admitted Georgia’s progress in protection of human rights in prisons under the current Georgian Dream leadership.

The report was released five years after the prison torture videos went viral under the United National Movement (UNM) leadership in September 2012, which stirred a large-scale turmoil inside and outside the country.

The report reads that the country has shown improvements for protecting inmates’ rights, their health and also provided better infrastructure.

The report highlighted that the number of prisoners decreased in the course of five years (24,114 prisoners in 2011 under the UNM leadership and 9,334, under the Georgian Dream in 2016), as well as the death rate of prisoners due to the Hepatitis C program and psychological assistance.

“The reconstructive and restoration works in penitentiary facilities ensured the meeting of the facilities to the international standards, the only exception in Prison #7,” the report reads.

The report continued that the Ministry of Corrections planned the gradual moving of prisoners from the #7 prison to other penitential facilities, as for now the full closure of the prison could create problems.

The report stresses that the biggest challenge for the prison system is the lack of independent institutions which would prevent inhumane treatment in prisons and would investigate such incidents, if they happen, effectively “without the goodwill of certain people”.

The lack of such institutions is a serious drawback, as nothing in a democratic state should be dependent on “the goodwill of certain people”.

A democratic state requires strong state institutions and rule of law to be in full compliance with international standards.