On March 1-3 the Latvian Centre for Human Rights (LCHR) staff Anhelita Kamenska, Laila Grāvere, Ilvija Pūce and Centre for Public Policy researcher Andrejs Judins visited the Netherlands to study independent local and national supervisory bodies of police cells and prisons, police and prison complaints bodies and visit several closed facilities.
The visit was part of the European Commission funded 3 year project. During the study visit the LCHR and Providus representatives visited Haaglanded Police Central Headquarters, where police representatives presented an overview of the structure of Dutch police forces, key philosophical principles underlying daily police work with the public and the new police complaints review system that was introduced in 2004. During the meeting the Latvian team was informed about the legal basis, mandate, working methods, composition of the Haaglanden Regional Police Cell Supervisory Committee. The Haaglanded police cell committe was established in 1991, while in 2000 such police cell supervisory committes have been established throughout the Netherlands. The Latvian team also visited the Hague Central Police Detention Facility where it examined the conditions of detention and legal safeguards of police detainees.
The visiting team met with the representatives of the Dutch Sanction Supervision and Juvenile Protection Advisory Council, which advises the Minister of Justice on application of sanctions concerning juveniles and policy issues related to prisons, prisoner aftercare, probation service, juvenile offenders and acts as an appeal body for prison complaints.
The Latvian team visited Amsterdam Remandhouse Haavenstraat where they were given an overview of the Dutch prison system, changes in penal policy in recent years and their negative impact on the prison system. The team went on a prison tour and also met representatives of the local prison supervisory committee, which acts both as a prisoner complaints and prison inspection body.
LCC and Providus team met with the representatives of the Dutch National Ombudsman’s Office to learn about the mandate and the tasks of the office, paying special attention to closed institutions, which cover a relatively narrow field of work of the office. It examines a small number of complaints and several thematic issues and issues of recommendations. The team met with the representatives of the Dutch Sanctions Supervision Inspectorate, which was established in early 2005 and oversees prisons and probation service. The Inspectorate carries out regular and thematic prison visits.