On 9 and 10 November conference "Preconditions of effective work of correctional services – dynamic security?" was held in Riga, hotel Tallink Hotel Riga.
Health care of persons under the supervision of Correction Services - Prison Administration (hereinafter - PA) and the State Probation Service (hereinafter - SPS) is not less important than other security-related matters.
In recent years, more and more attention is paid to dynamic security as an effective prerequisite of correction institutions work;
It has a variety of definitions, such as:
- Professional and positive relationships between staff and prisoners;
- Responsible and respectful relationships between staff and prisoners;
- Ensuring that the power that the employee has over the prisoners is not used as a provocation or a penalty;
- It allows employees to better anticipate problems and possible security risks in prison.
Three main dynamic security features dominate in different sources:
- Supportive environment;
- Educated employees;
- Individual approach to prisoners and risk assessment.
However, the society still has no common opinion as to what exactly dynamic safety is,
how to use it in correction institutions’ activities, what resources would be required to achieve and promote its introduction in the work of probation services and prisons. And - whether it is the only effective prerequisite of the work of corrections staff.
In this conference Latvian and foreign representatives from Norway, Croatia, Poland, Lithuania, Estonia and Spain shared their experience in dynamic security issues within correction institutions. On both days, the program was designed so that participants could first be able to get an idea of foreign practices in these matters, so on the first half of the day speakers presented their prepared presentations, which outlined achievements, future plans and challenges in the implementation and strengthening of dynamic security in their country. By contrast, during the second half of the day, three working groups were organized where participants discussed, questioned, held an exchange of views and ideas on dynamic security. At the end of the event, the participants were surprised at how many unifying elements there are in correction service systems of all countries.
The recognition that many institutions are already implementing dynamic security both in contact with the prisoners and the staff, but so far didn’t know how to name this activity was voiced many times.
First to share experience in dynamic security was Deputy Director of Rehabilitation Programs, Prison Services of Catalonia Carlos Soler Iglesias, whose presentation emphasized motivation of persons under the supervision of correction services. Also, Iglesias noted the importance of individual work with convicts to reducing relapse. As one of the examples, individual work plan prepared for each client under the supervision of an institution was mentioned. This plan defines different, positively influencing and motivating goals to be attained within a specified time. An important motivation tool for prisoners on the way to re-socialization are not losing links and maintaining communication with the public, family members and friends. Also, program "From the prison in society" has been developed, in which inmates accompanied by a prison officer visit various events outside the prison premises to facilitate the prisoners into society after they are released. Iglesias stressed that there is still a lot of challenges in the introduction and development of dynamic security.
Norwegian experiences were shared by Governor of high security Halden Prison Are Høydal and Inspector of high security Oslo prison Pål Endersplass.
In his presentation, Are Høydal talked about Halden prison, indicating that it is the newest prison built according to Norwegian prison standards, which serves as a model not only visually, but its operational framework also reflects Norway's overall attitude towards prison practices. It is designed to create more friendly and orderly environment in prison and reduce the authoritarian power-sharing between prisoners and staff. This prison has attempted to move away from the current standard role of prison guards in contact with prisoners, aligning it more of a social worker role. Employees spend all day activities together with prisoners, including even lunch. Also, inmates are involved in different types of workshops and trainings. Dynamic security implementation in Halden prison is an integral part of prisoners and prison employees’ daily work and communication component. However, one of the challenges is to balance and not to violate the requirements of security, creating such an open and welcoming social contact with convicts.
Meanwhile Endresplass shared experience of dynamic security in Oslo prison, where restriction of liberty is considered a sufficient punishment, without prejudice to any other rights to any Norwegian citizen. Oslo prison ideology is - the more a prisoner is distanced from the society, the harder it will be to re-socialize him back into society, so staff training is carefully prepared to develop social contacts between prisoners and supervisors, so prisoners would receive positive support in the prison and were not isolated.
Another positive example of Norwegian dynamic security is Bastoja prison, told about by the Governor Tom Eberhardt. Eberhardt indicated that this prison is located on a separate island and the prison guards perform not only prisoners’ surveillance and security guard functions, but also build a successful cooperation and actively communicates with prisoners. In this prison inmates have different responsibilities, such as care for cows, sheep and horse, meal preparation, as well as the prisoners themselves are planning their agenda and addressing social life problems. The aim of the prison is to teach responsibility and help customers move towards development.
Factor contributing to dynamic safety in Norway is also "Half-way house." Its task is to prepare inmates for life outside prison. It is an open-type place without a fence, where prisoners come a year before the end of their sentence to be able to successfully integrate back into society. Its inmates spend daily life working or studying.
Norwegian representatives given advice to reduce recidivism -
treat prisoners the same way as any other member of society, be kind and by development the principle of equality prisoner won’t return to prison.
Further in the conference, representatives from Lithuania, Estonia and Poland stressed the importance of staff training and the role of dynamic security implementation in daily practice. Likewise, the country representatives stressed the need to provide social support for prisoners, as well as promote the employment of prisoners that would be an important prerequisite for reducing recidivism in the long run. Each of the representatives shared their experiences on what changes dynamic security features have brought in correction services systems and how slowly but surely these elements are practiced daily more and more often in each of the countries.
This view was also shared by the Director General of Latvian PA, Colonel Ilona Spure, which stressed that in Latvia the dynamic security principles are being introduced in the monitoring process of prisoners, with an emphasis not only on the environment but also implementation of reforms in the training of personnel. Spure also presented planned Newly Olaine Prison dependent Centre activities, where dynamic security will be one of the guidelines.
The first day was concluded by the Head of SPS Mihails Papsujevičs, who stressed the dynamic safety positive impact on probation clients.
The second day was opened by the Senior specialist at the Penitentiary Office, Central Board of PA of Poland Andrzej Majcherczy with his presentation, informing about reforms that have taken place in Polish prisons under dynamic safety guidelines. Accordingly, outside territory armed security checkpoints have been liquidated, increasing the staff inside prison premises, reforms in the prison system have been carried out, by dividing large prisons into several small correctional facilities, social workers have a specific number of prisoners who they work with on a daily basis.
Head of Treatment Sector, Prison System Directorate, Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Croatia Renata Šoher pointed out that in Croatia dynamic security principles in dealing with prisoners has been incorporated into the legislation, as well as outlined what significant rehabilitation efforts are made to allow prisoners to properly return to society.
In two days of the conference work was organized in work groups in which the participants discussed the following topics:
- Client and employee supportive environment;
- Competent staff;
- Probation clients / inmates’ individual assessment and risk management.
The first team was led by Head of the Training and Research Unit, SPS Dace Balančonoka, Ilguciems Prison Chaplain Rudite Losane, the second training group leaders were Head of the Training system development unit, ESF project Daina Vanaga, Head of the Training Centre of Latvian PA Eduards Vagalis, Head of Cēsis Territorial Unit, SPS Janis Zardins, while third team was led by Head of the Resocialization Unit, Latvian PA Svetlana Trubačova, Head of the Risk and Needs Assessment Unit, Latvian PA Valdis Groza and Senior Desk Officer at the Monitoring and Probation Programmes Department, SPS Ainis Jukss.
The conference was concluded by Director of International Unit of the Directorate of Norwegian Correctional Services, moderator Kim Ekhaugen, wishing those present to continue the work started, and reflect on what will be the next step to more successfully implement the great ideas and insights that were presented during the conference.
Director of International Unit of the Directorate of Norwegian Correctional Services
Head of State Probation Service Mihails Papsujevičs
Director General of Latvian Prison Administration Ilona Spure
Governor, high security Halden Prison, Norway Are Høydal
Governor, Bastøy prison Tom Eberhardt
Head of Criminal Policy Analysis Division, Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Estonia Jako Salla
Project manager, Criminal Policy Department, Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Estonia Stanislav Solodov