Monday, January 08, 2007

Recidivism and Reintegration in the Georgian Penitentiary System: Research and Prospects

Many organizations such as Human Rights Watch have decried the state of Georgian prisons, but very little research has been done into either recidivism or methods of reintegration in Georgia.

According to interviews done by the CRRC fellow, Eka Kavtiashvili, in Georgia, 90% of prisoners are unemployed when they enter prison and do not have any professional qualifications and, therefore, most probably will remain unemployed, even after they are released from jail. Furthermore, medical assistance is extremely limited and sanitary conditions do not meet basic health standards.

Unfortunately, there is no organization in Georgia that helps released prisoners to reintegrate into the workforce. Moreover, regardless of the fact that only 9.7% of prisoners have obtained a tertiary degree and only 48% a secondary degree the prisoners, even the ones who are under age, cannot receive any education while in prison.

Unfortunately, the researcher was not able to obtain statistical data showing the rate of recidivism. However, according to those familiar with the penitentiary system, the percentage of such prisoners is very high. Due to the fact that reintegration programs do not exist in Georgia, most of those released from jails cannot find work and cannot reintegrate into mainstream society and, therefore, commit a crime again.

The fellow stresses the need to create reintegration programs for prisoners in Georgia, however, she suggests that a necessary precursor to such programs involves improving living conditions in prisons, creating employment as well as educational programs within the prisons, and increasing and improving access to medical care. Kavtiashvili also emphasizes the necessity of involving psychologists and social workers in counseling prisoners.

For more information about the Georgian penitentiary system you can get in touch with the fellow directly.


HansG said...

are there any good studies on penitentiary systems in the former Soviet Union?

It potentially raises several issues, not least a classical moral hazard/adverse selection one -- if the re-integration/training programs are better inside the prison than outside, this might not send the desired signals.

It seems that the transition countries would need to experiment and find novel solutions, not least because few Western penitentiary systems have model character.

Jonathan Kulick said...

There's quite a lot of research on health in FSU prisons, especially on HIV and TB (see below for a couple of Georgia cites). I dont think there's much on rehabilitation, recidivism, and other general penologoy, at least not comparing across the FSU.

Paul Rogers, "Reforming the delivery of forensic mental health and prison mental health in the Republic of Georgia," Mental Health Practice, 2006, 9(5):38-40.

A. Aerts, "Pulmonary tuberculosis in prisons of the ex-USSR state Georgia: results of a nation-wide prevalence survey among sentenced inmates," The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, 2000, 4(12):1104-1110.