Georgia: Largest jail population decrease in Europe

Rustavi Prison #5. Photo by N.Alavidze/, 25 Feb 2015 - 15:56, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia’s prison population rate has decreased more than any other country in Europe, a new report on Europe’s prison system reveals.

The country cut its prison population by more than 60 percent and this decrease was the highest in the continent, according to 2013 Council of Europe (CoE) Annual Penal Statistics (SPACE) that was published earlier this month.

The decrease was partially the result of amnesty and pardons.

Below are some of the assessments the SPACE report made on the situation in Georgia’s prisons:

  • Georgia had 8,868 inmates, which made 198 per 100,000 inhabitants, higher than the CoE average of 135.
  • Georgia showed the biggest decrease in prison population rates among all countries surveyed (more than 60% drop). Total number of releases in 2012 was 11,045, i.e. 246 per 100,000 inhabitants.

Factors that influenced the prison population were:

1. Amnesties: 8,718 inmates were released as a result of the application of the amnesty.

2. Individual pardons: 622 inmates were granted pardon.

3. Collective pardons: 3 collective pardons were applied during the reference period.

4. Other: 294 inmates were release due to the application of other decisions

  • Georgia’s density of prison population was 40 inmates for 100 places, the lowest after small states – Andorra, Monaco and San Marino.
  • Median age was 34.
  • Share of females (3.3%) was below average.
  • 21% of inmates in Georgia were serving sentences for drug offences, more than the average in the CoE region. Georgia was also among the countries with the highest rate of sentences for drug offences (36) and for theft (30) per 100,000 inhabitants.
  • Total budget spent by the Prison Administration in 2012 was €54.1 million. Average daily expense per inmate was €6.5, which was among the lowest and was comparable to such countries as Armenia, Croatia, and Moldova. It was 15 times lower than the CoE average of €98.

The SPACE report did not cover the two Russia-occupied regions of Georgia, Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region as data from those regions was not available.