Despite many positive reforms and success in moving away from the punitive penal policies of the Soviet era, criminal justice systems in the South Caucasus face a number of challenges.
Corruption is a persistent problem, particularly in Armenia and Azerbaijan. Trained pre-independence, members of the judiciary lack full independence and expertise, often resulting in the over-use of custodial sentences. Transition from Soviet-style prison colony to cell-type prisons is an ongoing challenge, along with maintaining and replacing buildings that were not originally designed as places of detention and which are unfit for habitation.
PRI has been working in the region since 1999. Our South Caucasus regional office is in Tbilisi, Georgia, and operates in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. Current work focuses on:
- torture prevention and improving independent public oversight of places of detention
- promoting non-custodial sanctions
- building the capacity of prison and probation services
- improving justice for children.