LCHR organised a seminar “Topical human rights issues in Latvian prisons and potential solutions – exhange of views by administrative courts and prisons”.
The seminar was held on 4 December at the Riga Regional Administrative Court House and was attended by 36 participants while judges from four district courts followed the event by the video conference.
Of the participants, 26 were judges (15 administrative district court judges, 8 administrative regional court judges and 3 Supreme Court justices), 10 were representatives of the Latvian Prison Administration, 4 representatives of the Ministry of Justice and 2 representatives of the LCHR. The prison administration was represented by senior staff involved in court proceedings. The seminar was opened by the LCHR director A.Kamenska. She was followed A.Burluckis, Head of Proceedings Department of the Prison Administration who made a presentation “Topical Human Rights issues in Latvia’s prisons and potential solutions.” He highlighted overcrowding, poor ventilation and lighting, lack of privacy and adequate health care services as key human rights concerns in prisons. The participants were appraised of the comprehensive audit of prison premises, including cells, conducted by the Prison Administration from September 2013 and April 2014 which allowed the prison authorities to increase living space for adult prisoners from 2,5m2 to 4m2 per person. This recommendation had long been advocated by the CPT of the Council of Europe. He also showed photos of premises in different prisons before and after the renovation. The presentation was followed by a discussion whereby O.Kulakova, Deputy Director of the Latvian Prison Administration answered questions and elaborated in detail on recent developments. Those concerned conditions of detention, legislation and procedure governing the use of CCTVs, short term visits and current problems, prison staff issues, and many other challenges. The seminar received high praise as commendable initiative both from judges and the representatives of prison administration and suggestions were made to organise such a meeting facilitated by the LCHR on annual basis.
The seminar took place within the framework of the project “Promotion of Ratification of OPCAT in Latvia” supported by OSI-Assisstance Foundation