On 2-3 April 2015 in Aghveran, Armenia Civil Society Institute NGO organized a training seminar on the topic “Specifics of the functioning of a probation service: experience of the National Probation Agency of Georgia”. The event was made possible in the framework of the project “Promotion of the use of alternative sanctions in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia” implemented by Penal Reform International (PRI) and funded by the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF).
21 staff members of the Armenian Alternative Sanctions Enforcement Division (ASED) of the Penitentiary Department under the Ministry of Justice attended the seminar. It is expected that a part of the participants will be involved in the work of pilot probation offices to be established in Armenia shortly.
The international trainer Mr. Teimuraz Maghradze, the Deputy Head of the National Probation Agency of Georgia, presented the system of the probation service of Georgia, its functions, particularities of the establishment and operation, existing challenges and possible ways of tackling them. In addition, Mr. Maghradze provided details of the organization of work and activities of the Probation Agency, including maintenance of a database, risk and needs assessment of probationers, individual sentence planning, provision of rehabilitation programmes, as well as planned programmes to be implemented in the near future. The trainer shared Georgian experience on operating a half-way house – Institution for Persons whose liberty was restricted – as well as application of electronic monitoring and plans to introduce it for enforcement of house arrest. During question and answer sessions the participants were able to receive detailed explanations related to issues of their professional interest.
In 2014 in the frames of the project a study tour to Georgia was organized for representatives of the Armenian Ministry of Justice and its ASED to learn about Georgian experience in operating a probation service.