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Convicted women are refused to enjoy home-arrest alternative without any grounds

April 28, 2018
Natia Gogolashvili

HRC lawyers identified several problems in the frame of monitoring in the penitentiary establishment # 5. One of the problems is groundless refusal to the convicted women to replace their imprisonment term into home-arrest, the lawyer monitors reported about this problem.

Representatives of the Ministry of Corrections state that four inmates of the penitentiary establishment # 5 petitioned the local council of the Ministry for changing their imprisonment terms into home arrest. All four convicts received negative answers. 

It is noteworthy that in accordance to the amendments in the criminal code of Georgia, from January 1, 2018, a new form of non-custodial punishment was established for adult convicts – a home arrest, which can be applied as a main or additional preventive measure. A home arrest may be used against the persons without no criminal record with the length from six months up to two years. If prison term or community labor is replaced with home arrest, it may last less than six months or more than two years. Home arrest cannot be applied against recruited military servants and persons convicted for domestic violence. Local council of the Ministry of Corrections can use home arrest for the convicts, except those who serve their terms in the establishments for particularly grave crimes, if she/he has served: at least one third of the terms imposed for less grave crime; at least half of the term for grave crime; at least two third of the term for the particularly grave crime.

HRC lawyer Eka Kobesashvili said the well-grounded answer of the Ministry of Corrections with regard to the home arrest is particularly important for the convicts.

“The refusal shall be well grounded. The prisoners lack verification for the negative answers. They received negative answers but nobody explained why. If this norm refers to the convicts and a convicted person meets the criteria, why her imprisonment term shall not be changed?! We hope the commission will consider this issue more carefully. I think we should have more liberal approach and the system shall be improved. This norm shall be enforced in reality. It is important that a prisoner, who receives negative answer about home arrest, received clarification why he/she was refused. It is important as other convicts will consider those criteria when applying to the commission,” Eka Kobesashvili said.

She added that convicts are dissatisfied with the conditions offered for the use of home-arrest.

“In order to use the home-arrest, a convicted person shall have a deposit of 5 000 GEL on his/her account. It is the cost of the bracelet which she/he wears until the home-arrest term expires. It is so-called guarantee sum if the bracelet is damaged. If the bracelet is not damaged, the convicted person will not lose the money. However, during the home-arrest the convicted person pays monthly fee for the service. These conditions turned up unacceptable for the convicts. When a person is sentenced to home arrest, she/he shall stay at home and how can they pay the money without any income?” Eka Kobesashvili wonders.

As the lawyer stated, maybe the commission could not initially take the responsibility for the possible outcomes of the home arrest. She said the system is not working properly yet.

The article was prepared in the frame of the project – “Monitoring Conditions of Juvenile and Female Prisoners in Georgian Penitentiary”, which is implemented by Human Rights Center with the Bulgarian Development Aid through the Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria in Georgia. The views in the article does not necessarily express the views of the donor and it is responsible for the content of the article.