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Georgia: A Look at Democratization’s Dark Side

Ksani prison No. 15 was under scrutiny by the Georgian Public Defender’s Office in 2010 and 2011 for poor treatment of inmates. (Photo: Georgian Penitentiary Department)

Freedom has a flip side. In Georgia, that translates into a prison population that is proportionally larger than Russia’s, and a justice system that remains a sensitive subject for the government.

With an overall population of roughly 4.5 million people, Georgia may be a democratization leader among formerly Soviet states, but it also has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world -- 531 prisoners per every 100,000 people. Tbilisi still has a long way to go, though, before it catches up to the global leader -- the United States, which has a rate of 731 prisoners per 100,000 inhabitants, according to the London-based International Centre for Prison Studies.

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Molly Corso is a freelance journalist who also works as editor of Investor.ge, a monthly publication by the American Chamber of Commerce in Georgia.

Georgia: A Look at Democratization’s Dark Side

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