On April 30, 2017 project No. LV08/2 "Establishment of new prison block in Olaine prison, including construction and training of staff" was concluded.
Most of the persons sentenced with deprivation of liberty before imprisonment used substances that cause addiction. As it is well known – substance addiction is one of the criminal behaviour risk factors. As the Section 1 of the Sentence Execution Code of Latvia states that one of the penitentiary tasks is special prevention – preventing inmates from committing new criminal offences, by establishing the Addiction Centre, Latvian Prison Administration has provided the preconditions for work with addicted persons in the field of repeated criminal offence prevention.
Based on the best practice of the imprisonment system of Norway and Poland, within the framework of the Project, a special resocialisation centre for addicted inmates was established, its capacity – 200 clients. Daily life of inmates is organised in the most effective way for work with addicts – in the form of therapeutical communities. The staff of the centre is comprised of officers – the head of the centre, deputies, chief inspectors and senior inspectors – and of supervisors. Unlike in other prisons, in this institution the majority of personnel are highly qualified officers, who can fulfil psychologist, social worker and contact person, in fact – mentor functions. With the aim to create positive practice examples for the rest of the imprisonment place system, the contact persons are given the tasks connected with inmates' resocialisation and monitoring. Thus, with the intention to effectively implement penitentiary tasks, eliminating the hypothetical competition between specialists of different fields because one officer can carry out contact person's, in fact – mentor's, duties, of course working with a limited number of inmates to ensure for each and every one an individual approach. Contact person system strengthens the constructive dynamic security approach when working with inmates, gradually moving away from the static security solutions that for a part of the staff provide only repressive, with the execution of criminal sentence tasks indirectly related monitoring and control functions.
During the Project implementation, the most important quantitative indicators of the Project were successfully completed, in some cases even exceeded, within the framework of the existing funding. The Addiction Centre complex consists of three blocks, instead of the two blocks, according with the original plans. The indicators regarding the number of persons involved in different types of educational activities were significantly exceeded. In addition, the number of officers provided with the opportunity to personally become acquainted with the work experience in Norway, is higher than planned. A very important contribution to ensuring the continuity of the Project is the sustainable cooperation with the Norwegian correctional institutions.
The methodological materials for work with inmates have been developed in the planned amount, addiction reduction programmes are working successfully – adapted resocialisation programme "Pathfinder", programme "Atlantis", as well as social skills development programme "Life School 3". Clients of the Addiction Centre can use the newly built sports hall, library, computer room, and take part in different creative and educational activities that are being provided.
Until the end of the Project the number of people involved in the Addiction Centre programmes exceeded 60 persons. In imprisonment places, according with the order set in the normative acts, thought–out and in–depth client selection for transfer to the centre is carried out. To preserve the high quality criteria of the centre it is not working at its full capacity – only five out of eight therapeutic communities have been opened.
Overall, the Project management team evaluates the Project progress as successful. Have been developed valuable forerun that (when working with inmates) will allow us to approach the standards of Poland and the worldly known leader of the penitentiary practice – Norway. In addition, we are pleased that the Addiction Centre complex has received jury praise in the competition "Best Construction in Latvia 2016" in the nomination "Newly Erected Public Building".
Work with inmates in the field of reducing addiction is a new endeavour for Latvian Prison Administration, characterised by non–stop development and improvement. From the viewpoint of the Project management team, after the Project completion, the addiction reduction system has development potential both in the Addiction Centre and in imprisonment places, and also – by organizing collaboration with addict support mechanisms in the society.
It is possible that the system can be enriched by work with addicted women, persons suffering from non–substance addictions, as well as by involving medical personnel specialising in reducing addictions to work with Addiction Centre clients. Addiction Centre clients would be appropriate target audience for the newly established electronic monitoring system, thus contributing to the gradual transition of addicted inmates from isolation towards freedom. In this regard, essential is dialog with non–governmental sector and institutions that in Latvia realise medical technologies oriented to reducing addictions, providing a quota for released addicted inmates in appropriate treatment facilities. The imprisonment places in which inmates are selected for transfer to the centre also have development potential. Detailed addicted inmate risk and needs assessment is essential, so in this sector the research section would need to be improved. In perspective, it would be useful to create change–oriented therapeutic communities for addicted inmates, that would implement qualified motivation programmes, as well as maintain the results after the clients have returned from the Addiction Centre.