Ombudsman Giorgi Tugushi raises the alarm about the situation in Georgia's prison system in his latest report to parliament. (Official photo.)

TBILISI, DFWatch – The Public Defender in Georgia believes the time has come to reduce the number of prisoners in the country.

The ombudsperson said this at a joint session of parliamentary committees to discuss his report about the human rights situation last year. He said that from 2004 to 2007, the number of prisoners increased disastrously. The last two years the number of prisoners has been 25 000.

The ombudsman stressed that the problems seen within the penal system in terms of health care and treatment, overcrowding and other problems will be solved only after the number of prisoners is reduced. And solving the problem of overcrowding in penal institutions is difficult with a ‘zero tolerance’ policy, Tugushi said.