On Thursday, 26 October, the closing conference devoted to the Norwegian Financial Mechanism planning period of 2009-2014 programme LV08 “Reform of the Latvian Correctional Services and Police Detention Centres” was held at the Daugavpils Mark Rothko Art Centre, reporting on the programme and projects carried out within the scope thereof.
Completely new and unprecedented changes have been made to the criminal penalty and correctional services system in the framework of the programme and projects. Electronic surveillance of the sentenced persons has been implemented, ensuring the gradual social rehabilitation of the sentenced persons. Activities of resocialisation at the place of imprisonment and after release have been developed to promote the integration of the convicts into the society and the labour market, and to reduce the probability of reoccurring criminal activity by the former prisoners. 10 places of short term detention and 11 premises (places) of temporary keeping have been reconstructed and renovated to meet the international human rights standards and requirements, in order to provide an appropriate environment and facilities for both the employees and the prisoners. Training was organised in all three projects to improve and enhance the professionalism and knowledge of the employees, because a proficient employee, whether a policeman, a probation officer or prison staff, is the foundation of a high quality correctional service and, therefore, public security.
The Minister of Justice Dzintars Rasnačs addressed the participants and thanked everyone who worked towards implementing the programme, the project partners and the donor programme partner of the Norwegian Financial Mechanism — the Directorate of Norwegian Correctional Services — for their work and support throughout the programme, and added that the Ministry of Justice is determined to continue improving the correctional services system in the new Norwegian Financial Mechanism project planning period of 2014-2021, now that the programme planning period of 2009-2014 has come to an end.
The total funding of the programme — EUR 15,360,000, is the largest financial funding for programmes implemented in Latvia in the framework of the Norwegian Financial Mechanism and the European Economic Area. Three projects were implemented — State Probation Service project LV08/1 “Increasing the Application of Alternatives to Imprisonment (Including Possible Pilot Project on Electronic Surveillance)”, Latvian Prison Administration project LV08/2 “Establishment of a new prison block in Olaine prison, including construction and training of staff”, and State Police Project LV08/3 “Improving the Standard of Latvian State Police detention centres”. The aforementioned projects were implemented to improve the justice system and the correctional services system altogether.