This year, on 20-21 November, an international conference “New Approach on Inmates Re-socialization: Steps Towards Progressive Correctional System”, organised by the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Lithuania as the operator of the Norwegian Financial Mechanism planning period of 2009-2014 programme LT14 “Correctional Services including Non-Custodial Sanctions”, took place in Vilnius. Representatives of the Ministry of Justice, the State Probation Service and the Prison Administration were also invited to participate in the conference. 80 participants from Lithuania, Latvia, Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Ukraine and Norway attended the conference to discuss the achievements of the projects supported by the Norwegian Financial Mechanism, and to share the experiences on how the Norwegian Financial Mechanism planning period of 2009—2014 has contributed towards changes in the correctional system in each of the aforementioned countries.
Ilvars Vītols, Head of the Electronic Monitoring Centre, Surveillance Department, Monitoring and Probation Program Department of the State Probation Service, spoke on the introduction of electronic surveillance in Latvia giving presentation on the topic “Alternatives to imprisonment: Latvia's experience in the field of electronic surveillance”, while Valērijs Dombrovskis, Deputy Chief of the Addiction Centre of Olaine Prison (Latvian Prison Hospital) and Anete Hofmane Senior Inspector of the Addiction Centre of Olaine Prison (Latvian Prison Hospital) held a presentation on the topic “Rehabilitation of inmates with dependency problems in prisons” on the principles of operation of the Addiction Center in Olaine and methods of re-socialization in dealing with clients. Inese Kamoliņa, representative of the Project Department of the Ministry of Justice, also attended the conference.
The topics of the Latvian representatives raised interest in participants of the conference, and possibilities of further cooperation were discussed as well.
Representatives of the Latvian delegation visited the Vilnius Half – way house, which was opened on 7 November 2016. The establishment of Half – way houses is a new initiative in the correctional services system in Lithuania, carried out in the framework of the Norwegian Financial Mechanism planning period of 2009—2014. The half – way house is an institution managed by the correctional services, and convicts who meet certain requirements and criteria for early release can accommodate the houses. For the time being, there are three fully operational half – way houses (open-type correction facilities) in Lithuania: Alytus Half – way house; Marijampole Half – way house; and Pravieniskes Half – way house.
After the visit of the Vilnius half – way house, representatives of Latvia, accompanied by colleagues from Poland, Lithuania and Norway, visited the oldest Lithuanian detention facility – Lukiškės Remand Prison. The name of the prison was changed during different periods of the 20th century, but from 1991 to 2000 it was renamed Vilnius Prison for Investigation. As of 2000, the name of the prison has been changed due to its location beside Lukiškės park. The prison building complex is located in Vilnius city centre, and was built in the beginning of the 20th century. Currently Lukiškės Remand Prison is one of the largest prisons in Lithuania, where persons sentenced to life imprisonment serve their sentence as well.