Public Defender’s Monitoring Report on Special Penitentiary Service’s Special Establishment for Women No. 5
On March 24, 2023 and on May 1-2, 2023, members of the Special Preventive Group of the Public Defender of Georgia made monitoring visits to the Special Establishment for Women No. 5 of the Special Penitentiary Service. The purpose of the monitoring was to study the situation of treatment of female prisoners and evaluate the implementation of the recommendations issued in previous years.
It should be positively noted that cleanliness is maintained in the institution, cells are provided with necessary inventory, proper natural and artificial lighting, as well as central heating systems. The minimum space requirements established by legislation are observed. However, considering the climatic conditions, it remains a challenge to ensure proper artificial ventilation and continuous water supply in the facility.
Compared to other penitentiary institutions, more rehabilitation activities are carried out in Establishment No. 5. The process of individual sentence planning is also underway. Nevertheless, the facility lacks human and material-technical resources to properly ensure the rehabilitation of convicts.
During the monitoring visits, members of the Special Preventive Group did not receive any information about physical violence against prisoners. In only few cases, the Group received information about individual cases when prisoners were harshly referred to. It was also found out that inter-prisoner conflicts periodically occur in the facility.
It should be noted that inmates are not properly informed about their rights or duties. Both Georgian-speaking prisoners and those speaking foreign languages have problems with access to updated legislative and subordinate acts. The majority of prisoners refrain from sending complaints and try to establish good relations with the prison staff or turn to prisoners close to the administration for help.
When examining medical services, it was found that there were cases when patients had to wait more than a month for a consultation with a specialist. Timely transfer of patients to the civil sector hospital to receive medical services is still a problem. Psychiatric care does not have a bio-psycho-social nature. Mental health screening does not have a regular character and is performed only during the initial placement of prisoners in the institution, on a one-time basis, whereas early diagnosis and preventive approach are of particular importance for timely detection and management of mental health problems.
The Public Defender of Georgia hopes that due attention will be paid to the recommendations laid down in the report, and by taking appropriate measures, the condition of female prisoners in Establishment No. 5 will improve.