New centre for young probationers in Tbilisi
Tbilisi. 18 November. 2009. A special rehabilitative centre to support young probationers is being officially opened in Tbilisi, Georgia. The centre was set up within the framework of the project called “Reform Options for the Penitentiary and Probation Systems for Convicted Child Offenders in Georgia” being implemented by the Ministry of Corrections and Legal Assistance and UNICEF with the support of the European Union.
The aim of the project is to establish a juvenile justice system that is focused on rehabilitation and reintegration of children in conflict with the law into society. This is a move which widens the alternative to custodial sentences for children in conflict with the law. Other centres of a similar kind were opened in Kutaisi, Batumi and Rustavi.
In practice, the probation is the only alternative to prison for children convicted of a crime in Georgia. At the centres probation and social workers cooperate with young probationers and their families in order to help them draw up individually tailored education and skills training plans which will help the children return to society where they can become active and positive members.
It is envisaged that the pilot rehabilitation programmes will lead to the development of strategies and frameworks to ensure that, where appropriate, young people are not prosecuted for minor and less serious offences and if prosecuted are given a non-custodial sentence.