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What Is Wrong in Kutaisi Prison? GCRT Published Survey Results


Shorena Kakabadze, Kutaisi

“Insufficient medical service, psychical and psychic problems, inhuman treatment from medical personnel, dozen inmates are sick with Hepatitis C and Diabetis,” Georgian Center for Psycho-Social and Medical Rehabilitation of Torture Victims (GCRT) published results of the survey carried out in Kutaisi Prison # 2.

“Prisoners note that doctors are more human to them now than before. However, it is noteworthy that medical service is still insufficient in penitentiary establishments; they do not have enough medicines in the premises. Some medicines are sold in prisons and inmates cannot afford them when needed. Situation is difficult with regard to surgical operations. Prisoners say sick patients are operated only in exceptional cases,” Ana Chapidze, head of GCRT’s Kutaisi office told humanrights.ge

The survey covered the period of May-June of 2013 and relied on the interviews of 78 respondents of Kutaisi Prison # 2. It showed that situation is not nice in the penitentiary establishment. Inmates are sick with different diseases and their health problems aggravate due to poor conditions in the premise.

“The purpose of the survey was to study availability of medical service in Kutaisi Prison # 2 and to identify real barriers for the adequate medical service. So, we studied the situation well, interviewed direct beneficiaries – former and current inmates of the prison. Also we decided it was significant to learn the opinion of medical personnel. Prisoners complained about insufficient number of doctors and sometimes were doubtful about their competence too,” Ana Chapidze said.

Psychologist of the GCRT’s Kutaisi office and prison doctor speak about different problems. They state that prisoners often mistrust medical personnel: “Very often prisoners refuse to take medical service because of mistrust. Doctors and patients, prisoners in this particular case, do not have sincere communication that finally negatively impacts the patient’s health conditions. Besides that, we have problems of medicines; prisoners claim that doctors do not have enough medicines and can give only pain killers. Other medicines are sold in prison and patients cannot buy them,” said GCRT’s psychologist Izolda Shengelia.

Based on the survey findings, the organization prepared conclusions about medical equipment too. There is not sufficient medical equipment in Kutaisi Prison # 2 though prisoners often take medical treatment inside the premise. “Patients are taken to jail hospitals when they are dying. In similar case prison administration avoids death registration in the penitentiary establishment.” “One of inmates needs urgent operation but they do not operate him. We cannot understand why.” “One inmate has cancer; he is promised to be taken to jail hospital but not implemented yet,” extracts from the interviews with prisoners were spread by the Kutaisi office of the GCRT.

In the frame of the survey a documentary film “Oath Coverage Zone” was prepared based on the stories told by prisoners. “Very often prison doctors forget Oath of Hippocrates, which should work within prison too,” a prisoner is saying in the film, who calls on the doctors to be human. “Otherwise doctors also breach the law like the prisoners.”

“The survey exposed many problems. However, we should say that some reforms were implemented in the penitentiary system. So there is some progress too. But there are issues that should be resolved. Namely, prisoners’ access to medical service without discrimination. Also taking care of their psychic health. It is important to develop joint system of psychic health, which will evaluate prisoners’ psychic conditions, intervene in it at an early stage and ensure timely and adequate reaction on problems,” said Ana Chapidze.

Public Day is scheduled in the frame of the survey, which will take place in the Parliament of Georgia in December. The prepared documentary film will be screened, which will be sort of recommendations to the MPs and the society in general, as the GCRT’s representatives state.
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