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New prison minister goes easy on ill inmates

by | Oct 1, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – A day before the parliamentary election, the embattled prison ministry in Georgia made a push to explain it is doing something to improve health care for inmates.

Since the abuse scandal broke, 107 prisoners have been transferred to prison hospital, 78 to civilian hospitals, and 8 have had an operation, according to the prison ministry.

September 19, videos were shown on TV documenting humiliating abuse of prisoners by staff. The scandal led to the resignation of the interior minister and the prison minister, and the public defender became prison minister, promising to completely overhaul the system.

The ministry’s statement says that in the past, prisoners were put in quarantine without adequate follow-up. The ministry considers it necessary to check the health condition of prisoner while in quarantine, to avoid infectious disease to spread all over the prison.

Prison minister Giorgi Tughushi has instructed chairs and medical personnel of prisons to pay particular attention to prisoners’ appeals for medical assistance.

“Since September 20, there has been enforced [a practice of] postponing the serving of a sentence due to illness. Up to 20 prisoners have already had their sentence postponed due to health condition.”

Many prisoners have died of tuberculosis in recent years, but exact numbers are unknown.



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