Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Prisoners in Two Minds About Freedom

Thousands of prisoners are being freed under an amnesty in Tajikistan, but as Jamoliddin Saifiddinov reports, many have little to look forward to on the outside.
To mark the country’s constitution day, over 10,000 convicts are to be freed; nearly a third of them are already out of jail.

Saifiddinov interviewed women scheduled for release who appeared ambivalent about gaining their freedom – some said they had no one waiting for them and nowhere to go back to.

Tajikistan is suffering the direct effects of global economic crisis, and also indirectly, as migrant workers return from Russia to look for jobs at home. the increased pressure on a depressed job market means former prisoners will find themselves at the back of a very long queue.

Local authorities say they are trying to find jobs for the amnestied convicts, but admit there is more demand for labour in traditionally male trades than there is for female workers.

IWPR found that economic factors were among the reasons why many women re-offend, in a recent report called Female Ex-Cons Struggle to Find Jobs in Tajikistan.