Latest information regarding the course of project No. LV08/2 "Establishment of a new prison block in Olaine prison, including construction and training of staff" carried out within programme "Reform of the Latvian Correctional Services and Police Detention Centres" co-funded under the Ministry of Justice and the Government of Norway bilateral financial instrument.
On November 30, 2016 the Addiction Centre of the Olaine Prison (Latvian Prison Hospital) admitted the first four clients. These were convicts who required intensive resocialization in order to reduce the risk of criminal behaviour in relation to the use of addictive substances.
At the initial stages of the Centre’s operation, only three out of eight units will be open to clients. Following the admission, the clients will be placed in the first unit (Assessment Unit) where over the course of two weeks they will get familiar with principles of the Centre. After the completion of the assessment procedure, they will engage in resocialization measures in one of the remaining units: unit of programme “Atlantis’ or unit of programme ‘Pathfinder’. At the initial stages of the Centre’s operation, it is expected that at least 70 addicted persons will begin their resocialization.
As of now, the client selection for them to be transferred to the Centre is under way in seven places of imprisonment, under supervision of experts specially prepared for the task at hand. At the central headquarters of the Prison Administration there is already a decision taken concerning placement of 38 convicts in the Centre. In near future applications from 12 other convicts will be examined.
In preparation for client resocialization at the Centre, several preparatory tasks were completed over the course of last months.
The construction of the new fence around Olaine Prison (Latvian Prison Hospital) was completed on August 26, 2016. The fence was built as a single complex of the security system completely enclosing the closed area of the prison. Leading up to construction of the new fence, the Centre’s construction site was outside the closed area, but now the Centre and its adjacent area is integrated in the overall landscape of the prison.
The principal construction unit was put into operation on September 8, 2016, including three building units housing the whole infrastructure required for resocialization, as well as well-maintained surrounding area. Four units of the Centre are located in Building A but another four are located in Building C, whereas Building B houses classrooms, library, gym and gymnasium. The project developers’ special approach to environment can be seen in the unique selection of colour design in each unit in line with a previously selected theme, that is, ‘path’, ‘mountains’, ‘meadow’, ‘water’, ‘seasons’, ‘flowers’, ‘morning’ and ‘forest’.
The festive opening of the Centre on October 5, 2016 was attended by local officials, Norwegian cooperation partners and representatives of supervisory authorities. Officials from Polish and Lithuanian penitentiary institutions were also invited. The Centre already enjoys attention from foreign experts as it is already visited by delegations from Georgia, Ukraine, and Finland.
In preparation for admitting first clients, work-related and everyday appliances and equipment were delivered and installed in October.
The following are the main parameters of the tasks completed:
- Number of clients that can simultaneously reside in the Centre: 200;
- Overall area of the Centre: 5,373.78 m2;
- Overall cubage of Centre’s buildings: 26,672.40 m3;
- Overall area of exercise zones: 1,783.10 m2;
- Number of residential premises: 100;
- Number of classrooms: 4;
- Number of resocialization rooms: 8;
- Number of rooms for group assignments: 10;
- Number of rooms for individual assignments: 15.
Moreover, within the project there is continuous training of the third group of the Centre’s staff at the Training Centre of the Prison Administration. In total, the project has allowed 472 employees and officials from the Prison Administration and the State Probation Service to engage in different training measures. 40 experts have participated in experience exchange visits in Norway and Poland. On 11 occasions cooperation partners from Norway have visited Latvia for training purposes, but experts from Poland have done the same four times.
It was conceptually decided on September 28, 2016 at a session of the Cooperation Committee of programme ‘Reform of the Latvian Correctional Services and Police Detention Centres’ co-funded under the Ministry of Justice and the Government of Norway bilateral financial instrument that measures are to be taken to extent the project’s final deadline up to April 30, 2017.