Mr. Rait Kuuse is currently holding a position of the Deputy Secretary General on Prisons (DG of the Prison Service) in the Estonian Ministry of Justice. His main responsibility is the overall management of the Estonian Prison Service in the implementation of custodial and non-custodial sentences.
The Estonian Prison Service consists prison department of the Ministry of Justice, three prisons and five regional probation departments employing on everyday basis round 1200 people. The responsibilities also include coordination of activities of the Correctional College in the structure of Estonian Academy of Security Sciences and representing state interests at state-owned company called Prison Industry. Prison service strategy and summary of activities can be found at https://www.vangla.ee/en
Mr. Kuuse has been working since 1999 in the Estonian public sector. He started his career as a probation officer, moved in 2001 to the Ministry of Justice to the position of the head of Probation and Crime Prevention Department. He has been actively engaged in the criminal policy reform of Estonia being one of the leading persons in changing the parole system, introducing the community service as alternative sanction, starting the electronic monitoring of offenders and uniting prison and probation services. From 2012 until 2014, he held the position of Prison Governor of Tallinn Prison with a capacity of 1200 beds.
Since spring 2014 till December 2021 he worked as a Deputy Secretary General on Social Policy in the Ministry of Social Welfare. His field of responsibility was the coordination of the country’s social policy and its agenda setting. He was also Chair of the Board in the foundation responsible for care home services and Board Member of the Estonian Prison Industry.
Rait Kuuse is skilled at international co-operation, his experience involves working many years as an expert for various international organizations in the area of criminal justice reforms and development of alternatives to imprisonment. Additional to short-term engagements he served as a regional director of Penal Reform International in South Caucasus region (2008-2009) and contributed as a key-expert on probation of EU funded project to the development of the Probation Service of Georgia (2009-2011). Mr Kuuse has been a board member of CEP (2004-2006), held a position of Vice Chair of the EU Social Policy committee (2018-2019) followed by being elected to the the position of the chair of the committee (2019-2021).
He has masters level diploma in social work from the University of Tallinn, graduated also masters level programme of European studies at the Tartu University. He has contributed to the publication of the book “Probation in Europe”, published scientific articles and has taken part at numerous seminars as a speaker.