Reform of the Latvian Correctional services and police Detention Centres

Key facts

Programme Operator:
Ministry of Justice
Programme ID:
In implementation
Programme Donors:
Directorate of Norwegian Correctional Service (KDI)
Date of approval:
Total amount:
EEA Grants fund:
Norway Grants fund:
€ 13,056,000

Currently available funding

Programme Summary

Why is the programme needed? Latvia has the highest prison population rate within the European Union. Despite a decline in the number of prisoners over the last years, the situation is underpinned by the criminal punishment policy applied so far, which entails severe punishments for criminal acts and limited possibilities of serving the sentence by alternative measures to prison. Although a new penal policy was adopted in 2009, Latvia lacks at present possibilities to introduce the new measures in a speedily manner. The most pertinent challenges are those related to sub-standard prison infrastructure, insufficient training of prison and probation staff, as well as adequate re-socialisation instruments. What will the programme achieve? The programme aims to improve the system of correctional services in compliance with relevant international and European human rights instruments. How will it be achieved? This will mostly be done through: • Refurbishment of prisons and detention facilities to bring the standard living-space of prisoners in line with international standards; increasing the use of alternatives to prison through a reform of the system of conditional release on parole and adding to it an additional measure in the form of electronic monitoring; • Improving competences of prisoners and prison staff through training; • Enhancing measures that assist vulnerable prisoners to overcome their drug addiction by building a drug-rehabilitation unit in one of the larger prisons. The programme will be implemented through three projects: • The first project focuses on increasing the application of alternatives to imprisonment, including through introducing the application of electronic monitoring; • The second aims at constructing a new drug rehabilitation unit at one of the bigger prisons, Olaine, as well as training the staff; • The third one aims to improve the standard of Latvian State police detention centres which do not comply with requirements of national or international legislation. The project also seeks to improve the competences of the staff as well as abolish the heavily criticised practice of administrative detention. How will bilateral relations be strengthened? The Correctional Services in Norway (KSF) are a designated Donor Programme Partner (DPP). A few Norwegian partners, such as the Oslo Probation Office, Correctional Service of Norway Staff Academy (KRUS), Ila Detention and Security Prison of Norway and Oslo Prison, will be Project Partners in two of the projects. The Council of Europe (CoE), Estonian Police and Border Guard College and the Estonian Central Public Order Police will be partners in one of the projects. Numerous study trips and workshops are planned or have already taken place under the programme. The CoE has been involved in the programme planning, and the Council’s participation through the implementation period has been secured through its membership in the Cooperation Committee. The CoE has also provided its expert advice during the planning of the projects, and it has added value to the project development. Such advice is also foreseen in the implementation period. What are the partnership opportunities? The programme includes a bilateral involvement opportunity at project level where the abovementioned institutions are partners. Who can apply for funding under this programme? There are only pre-defined projects under the programme and no calls for proposals.