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GYLA’s Opinion on Pending Amendments to the Code of Imprisonment

02.11.2011
Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association criticizes drafted amendments to the Code of Georgia about Imprisonment.

The draft provides for increase of number of telephone conversations, video appointments and visits, as an incentive for prisoners; it also contains a number of restrictive amendments and supplements.

“For example, Article 9 of the draft inserts new types of disciplinary punishments in the Code, including: h) restriction of the right to telephone conversations for the maximum period of 3 months; i) restriction of the right to receive and send personal correspondence for the maximum period of 3 months; j) restriction of the right to use the service of a store located on the territory of penitentiary/freedom deprivation facility for the maximum period of 3 months, k) restriction of the right to remittances for the maximum period of 3 months,” the GYLA states.
 
In GYLA’s opinion, “In view of high risk of poor treatment at penitentiary facilities, access to telephone communication and correspondence is one of the guarantees for protection of prisoners.

“Restriction of the access, as a type of punishment, will result in complete isolation of prisoners and even deprive them from an opportunity to communicate with attorney. The latter is in direct conflict with the 2010 recommendation of the Committee Against Torture for Georgia,” GYLA clarified.

“Imposition of the aforementioned punishment will automatically rule out any access to attorney.”
 
Young lawyers consider that “Another important novelty contained in the draft law is abolishment of disciplinary punishment as a precondition for using administrative imprisonment, which would allow use of administrative imprisonment for any kind of disciplinary offence. For example, violation of hygienic and sanitary norms is a type of disciplinary offence; if committed, under the draft norm, an offender can be subject to administrative imprisonment for 60 days and nights. It decreases the standard for using the strictest measure to an unreasonably low level. Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe underlines that punishments should be proportional in severity to their offences. Furthermore, it also defines that solitary confinement of an individual, as a measure of punishment, can be used only in extraordinary cases, for a concrete period of time and for the shortest term possible. Administrative arrest is a solitary confinement and absence of preconditions for resorting to the measure (commission of a new disciplinary offence when the before the term of previously imposed punishment expires) will rule out its use in extraordinary cases and for the shortest term possible, even at the legislative level. Therefore, the proposed amendment contradicts the aforementioned recommendation by turning administrative imprisonment into a disproportionate punishment.
GYLA believes that the Parliament of Georgia should take international standards into account with reference to the issues under its consideration and improve the legal draft.”

News Agency “Pirveli”

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