Tamar Chanturia has lived in the country of Georgia for most of her life, but her passion for the field of community corrections has traveled over borders and across the Atlantic Ocean.
In 2005, she graduated from Sokhumi State University with honors, a Major in Jurisprudence and qualifications to become an attorney. “Originally, I wanted to be a lawyer. It seemed glamorous. Even though I was interested in International Criminal Law at the university, I didn’t become interested in criminal justice until I really started to work,” Tamar said.
“My bosses were working in criminal cases, and at that time there was zero tolerance for crime. Prison is not always a good place to restore justice and rehabilitate a person. I feel I can say that after gaining experience.”
In 2010, Tamar took the position of probation officer at the Tbilisi Probation Bureau. She headed the group supervising females and juveniles for the bureau, and gained valuable experience working there until 2015. She was invited to the Penitentiary and Probation Training Center to share her working experience as a trainer.
“In Georgia, women are often coming into conflict with the law for petty crimes,” Tamar said. “We met women convicted of theft or drug-related crimes. I learned its very important to be a good listener. You must be detail-oriented, and you need to have resources to tackle the criminogenic needs of your beneficiaries. That’s what I wish probation offices all over the world had more of.”
At the end of 2015, Tamar left her job to travel and reassess her future. She spent time in Germany and then the United States where she stayed as a guest of Tennessee Probation Officer Bob Anderson and Natasha Sandefer and attended APPA’s February 2016 training institute in Atlanta. “I thought it was a great opportunity to participate in training and learn,” Tamar said. “I’m always looking for new topics that interest me and ways to enrich personal skills. After I attended the APPA training institute, I flew back home and started to look for work opportunities.”
In 2018, Penal Reform International hired Tamar as a project coordinator. Although it was a short-term position, they kept her on to gain experience and work on additional projects. “It’s really fulfilling. They’re supporting fair and effective criminal justice, the use of non-custodial sentences, including probation and community service, and it’s so important for people to see those.”
Tamar’s goals for the future include studying social work. “I want to grow into a person who can make changes in the criminal justice system, and I want those changes to be friendly and fair to all people.”#justice-involvedwomenandgirls#criminogenicrisk/needs#professionaldevelopment