State Probation Service has started to implement individual support consultations (supervisions) of mental health specialists for employees.
Funding for the specialists has been received from Norway Grants Financial Mechanism 2009-2014 programme No.LV08 “Reform of the Latvian Correctional Services and Police Detention Centres” Project of the State Probation Service of Latvia Nr.LV08/1 “Increasing the Application of Alternatives to Imprisonment (Including Possible Pilot Project on Electronic Surveillance)”. Mental health specialists have been contracted through procurement procedure. The contract includes 629 hours of supervisions, provided until 2016.
The service of supervisions will be available only to those probation service employees (of all the 376) who work face to face with clients. Often it is harsh environment due to complexity of work and emotional stress.
In the world’s practice it is common to hire specialists for the stuff to provide the opportunity to talk and to balance one professionally, and not to "bring problems to home."
Conversations with experts provide to probation officers the motivation to continue in service, despite the complexity of the work and emotional stress level, thus reducing staff turnover in the institution.
Similar consultations have been provided to probation service officers in 2010 and 2011. At the time, specialist services could be used by staff who worked with sex offenders. Employee feedback suggests that the supervisions provided to the staff at that time were positively evaluated.