This story was amended on 4/11/11 to correct the source of the juvenile mentoring program grant.
With its prisons packed, Georgia is trying to keep troubled youngsters out of jail with a program that makes mentoring a key part of the country’s juvenile justice system.
Georgia’s “zero-tolerance” policy toward crime has been successful in slashing crime rates, but it has also produced a near 100-percent occupancy rate in Georgian prisons. From 2004-10, the prison population almost quadrupled to 23,800, according to statistics compiled by King’s College London’s International Centre for Prison Studies.
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Giorgi Lomsadze is a freelance reporter based in Tbilisi and was a 2004-2006 participant in the Edmund G. Muskie Graduate Fellowship Program.