While there have been improvements in recent years, criminal justice policy in Central Asia remains punitive.
Large prison populations, a result of the overuse of pre-trial detention and custodial sanctions, have led to overcrowding and poor conditions. The absence of separate juvenile justice systems, lack of measures to support the reintegration of offenders back into the community and the Soviet tradition of camp-style prisons remain persistent problems. Violence in prison and torture and ill-treatment of prisoners is not uncommon.
PRI has been working in the Central Asia region since 2001. Our office in Astana, Kazakhstan, currently manages programmes in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan and maintains links with partners in Uzbekistan.
Current work focuses on legislative reform in Kazakhstan, torture prevention, particularly on improving independent public oversight of places of detention, and supporting the reintegration of prisoners into society.