New minister in charge of prison system, Giorgi Tugushi, allowed journalists inside the premises of notorious Gldani prison No.8, which is in the center of prison abuse scandal.
Some inmates were telling journalists from barred cell windows that situation had changed for better after the patrol police officers were deployed in the prison; but some prisoners were also complaining that several jail guards from the old prison staff were threatening inmates with retributions after the elections; they said that such threats were voiced by some prison guards only when patrol police officers were not nearby. Prisoners were also saying that beating of inmates was widespread before the scandal broke out.
Giorgi Tugushi, who was public defender before President Saakashvili appointed him as new prison system minister, told journalists that his most immediate priority was complete eradication of mistreatment of inmates; he also said that he would then tackle the problem existing with healthcare system in the penitentiary. He also said that he had ordered an immediate transfer to hospitals several inmates with poor health condition.
Meanwhile, it was reported on September 21, that Shota Utiashvili, who is PM Vano Merabishvili’s senior advisor and his long-time right-hand man, was appointed as deputy minister for prison system.