On June 30-July 2, 2014 a delegation representing various governmental institutions of the Republic of Armenia visited Georgia to study Georgia’s experience in establishment and operation of the probation system and practice of use of non-custodial sentences and measures.
The study trip was organized by Civil Society Institute non-governmental organization and Penal Reform International (PRI) international organization within the framework of the project “Promotion of the use of non-custodial types of punishment in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia” funded by the UN Democracy Fund.
The delegation included representatives of the judicial system, Division of Enforcement of Alternative Sanctions of the Criminal Executive Department of Ministry of Justice, Department of Legal Reforms, Council of Europe Office in Yerevan and Civil Society Institute.
During the visit, the delegation met with representatives of the Ministry of Justice of Georgia, the Deputy Minister of Corrections and Probation, the Head and staff of the Probation Agency of Georgia, Judges of the Court of Appeal, and representatives of non-governmental organizations.
The Head of the Probation Agency presented the history of the establishment of the probation service in Georgia, the past path, issues and identified solutions, as well as future programs.
The delegation visited one of territorial bureaus of the Probation Agency where the members of the delegation had an opportunity to familiarize themselves with specifics of the probation service, technical equipment and main functions of the staff.
Members of the delegation also visited a recently opned institution under the Probation Agency where prisoners serve such type of punishment as limited deprivation of liberty. There prisoners serving last months of their imprisonment can be transferred if they demonstrated good behavior and want to participate in rehabilitation programs. Prisoners at this institution have the right to visit home on weekends, and participate in rehabilitation programs during week days, and, if they wish, they can also participate in vocational training or do sports.
As we know, Armenia intends to introduce probation service in the near future. Both new legislation and legislative changes are being drafted for that end. The study visit also aimed at assisting establishment of the probation service in Armenia by studying practice of other countries.