Ministry of Corrections and Legal Assistance of Georgia is an institution within the Government of Georgia, which ensures execution of sentences and management of penitentiary establishments, as well as provision of free legal aid service.
Besides execution of sentences rendered by the Courts, which must serve for main purposes of the criminal responsibility, the Ministry protects public safety. The main goal of the Ministry, however, is protection of rights and improvement of conditions of pre-trial and convicted inmates. For this purpose, multi-level reforms are carried out in the Ministry that cover re-socialization and rehabilitation of inmates as well as raising quality and accessibility of prison healthcare. The former is among the top priorities of the Ministry.
The Ministry initiated various novelties in the penitentiary system. For example, long-term family visits and meetings by video-conferencing.
The infrastructure of the penitentiary establishments of Georgia is improving. Consequently, more than 80% of convicts serve sentences in the penitentiary establishments that are commensurate with European standards. The Ministry plans to demolish outdated penitentiary establishments and replace them with new ones in the nearest 2-3 years.
After adoption of the new Code on Imprisonment in 2010, the whole new standards were established with regard to a range of matters. In particular, Early Conditional Release System became much more transparent and effective.
The contemporary methodology of risk assessment and individual sentence planning is successfully introduced in the probation system. The aforementioned gives us opportunity to assess risks of re-offending and take all preventive measures that are prescribed by law.
The infrastructure is promptly improving within the National Probation Agency as well. Currently, 49 probation offices are renovated and equipped.
Within the framework of the liberalization of Criminal Justice Policy, the National Probation Agency is actively involved in creation and execution of the effective and flexible community service system, among other means, through the use of the electronic monitoring system.
At request of the Ministry, number of probationers were enrolled in the educational institutions and vocational centers, also were employed by the private sector.
Numerous projects implemented by the Ministry have the additional social implication. For instance, video-conferencing makes it possible for any person to contact with their family members and relatives who are deprived of liberty, while saving time and financial resources.
The Ministry pays particular attention to juvenile convicts. We have elaborated and successfully introduced the Juvenile Justice System Development Conception to the penitentiary system. The aim of the conception is to reduce risks and prepare the juvenile for integration into the society as its full members.
The 5 year strategic plan is being implemented within the Legal Aid Service. The aim of the project is to increase accessibility of the legal aid, to offer high quality service and increase the awareness of the society.
The Penitentiary and Probation Training Centre plays the central role in professional development of the penitentiary system employees. Since 2005 up to today, the Training Centre has retrained more than 5000 employees of the penitentiary system, more that 800 of the probation system and up to 100 staff members of the Ministry.
Numerous states are interested in the penitentiary and probation system of Georgia. Therefore, their representatives often visit the Ministry for sharing our experience.
Despite the successful reforms, we understand that a lot is still to be done. Every employee of the Ministry does his/her best to improve the system. At the same time, we are inspired by the trust and support from the society, which we always feel and without it, the work would be impossible.
The Ministry of Corrections and Legal Assistance of Georgia is always ready for cooperation and will always receive any constructive proposition.