Programme agreement signed for the Correctional Services programme in Latvia

The programme agreement for Latvian Correctional Services was signed on 22 March 2019.

Olaine prison in Latvia supported by Norway Grants

Key information about the programme

  1. The programme is operated by: Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Latvia
  2. The Donor Programme Partner in this programme is: the Directorate of Norwegian Correctional Service
  3. The programme’s objective is: Improved correctional system
  4. The programme funding amounts to € 13,000,000 (excluding co-financing) and is funded entirely by the Norway Grants.

Why is the programme needed?

As some other countries, Latvia faces serious challenges in the prison system. Poor infrastructure, lack of qualified personnel, overcrowding, shortage of meaningful activities for prisoners and a rising number of prisoners with drug addictions are main  concerns. All these challenges call for new methods and alternative approaches to sentence enforcement, as well as improved training systems for prison and probation staff. Currently, the existing training system in Latvia provides the basic qualification for prison guards, but lacks adequate infrastructure, training volume and capacity of the teaching staff for guards and other personnel working in prisons.

The Correctional Services programme of the Norway grants 2014-2021 is in a unique position, as it builds on three successful projects implemented under the 2009-2014 Financial Mechanism while facilitating synergies with investments under the European Structural Funds tackling similar challenges. This will ensure both complementarity and consistency in the reform of the correctional services in Latvia. However, the finances and criteria for expenditures in ESF projects do not support the investment in infrastructure. The most acute challenges are the need for the development of a modern and effective staff training system and the development of an infrastructure that supports the correctional services system. The Correctional Services programme will contribute to addressing these challenges and thus to the development of a re-socialization policy contributing to  reduced recidivism in Latvia.

What will the programme achieve and who are the beneficiaries?

The Programme aims to provide a sustainable basis for improving the capacity of prison and probation staff and their professional development. It will be implemented through the construction of one training centre with model prison blocks for staff training purposes, in the Olaine prison territory. Crucial practical experience will be gained in the new infrastructure allowing the trained personnel to acquire new skills and foster the implementation of a modern approach to sentence enforcement.

The national prison training centre will target staff of the correctional services, both prison and probation staff, and will have a capacity of 150 students at any time. By addressing this target group, the programme will subsequently reach prisoners and clients on probation, thus improving the execution of prison sentences. Newly obtained skills of staff will contribute to the re-socialization of prisoners and reduced recidivism, consequently benefiting society as whole.

The capacity of the training centre will ensure all necessary infrastructure for the provision of an effective training process. In addition, it will  house a complex suited for national and international events for exchange of knowledge and expertise. The establishment of the new centre will be part of a model reflecting the functioning of the complete justice chain and is considered to be a milestone for contributing to the reform and future planned national investments in the Latvian correctional services.

How will the programme strengthen bilateral relations?

The programme foresees cooperation between Latvian and Norwegian peer institutions on programme and project level and by accessing the €100,000 allocated to the programme through the Fund for Bilateral Relations. Bilateral cooperation will continue to build on fruitful relations already established during the Norway Grants 2009-2014. The activities planned in the pre-defined project will allow for donor experts to provide specific expertise, ensuring the achievement of the programme and strengthening bilateral relations between the peer institutions even more.

The funding under this programme is allocated solely to one project which has been pre-defined in the Memoranda of Understanding with Latvia. No public calls for funding will be announced under this programme.  

Download the full programme agreement for more detailed information about the programme.

More information can also be found on the website of the Norway Grants in Latvia and the website of the Directorate of Norwegian Correctional Service.