Under EU-funded Project Inmates Grow Flowers in Penitentiary Facilities
Non-Governmental organization Civil Development Agency (CiDA) is implementing the EU-funded project “Training and Employment Support Initiative (TESI) in the Criminal Justice Sector in Georgia” in partnership with the Georgian Farmers’ Association and DVV International.
The overall objective of the TESI project is to enhance and expand opportunities for vocational education and employment for inmates, former inmates, probationers and juveniles in conflict with the law, and assist their re-socialization process, through combining the efforts of government, private sector and civil society institutions.
Within the framework of TESI, and to achieve the objectives defined by the project, greenhouses have been established in three penitentiary establishments in Rustavi and Ksani. This is the culmination of a program of vocational education in horticulture and practical experience in gardening offered to inmates.
Inmates who have taken the program told the media that initially most of them took part in the lectures simply to pass time, but their interest in gardening and horticulture soon increased.
“While being in here, I have realised that it is important to use each second and minute effectively. When I leave prison I will no longer live in Tbilisi but settle in a remote village and conduct agricultural activities, including gardening, there. I am sure I will succeed because those of us who enrolled in the project now feel confident that we have gained enough skills to start our own businesses,” Vako Koridze told the media.
“When I heard about the project’s goals I joined it purely to pass the time, as I have seven more years to serve. But now all I can say is that I am in love with this job. I will be happy to continue to cultivate different herbs here. After release, I am sure I will set up a flower and gardening business. I have really found myself in this process,” Jokia Bodokia added.
A study conducted by CiDA shows that unemployment is one of the key reasons for reoffending. 22% of repeat offenders failed to find jobs after previous releases, and because of their economic situation they committed repeated crime.
Flowers grown by the inmates will sold at the Flower Festival on May 26, Independence Day in Tbilisi.