Updated on 29 October 2020
Allow to representatives of companies deliver goods and provide services only to ensure the basic functions;
Allow to continue to do repair work only to the representatives of companies with whom agreements have been signed;
Ensure the availability of disinfectants at the entrance of the LPA imprisonment place.
As to the reduction of overcrowding, the Latvian Prison Administration has stopped the imposition of short-term custodial sentences. No other specific measures have been taken to reduce overcrowding as the overpopulation has not been noticed.
Allow to call the medical emergency which further decides about the transfer of a prisoner outside the LPA imprisonment place, only in the case of acute illness that threaten the prisoner’s life and whom the LPA imprisonment place medical staff cannot provide the relevant medical help.
In Latvian prisons, if a prisoner is suspected of having a Covid-19 infection, material is taken from the nostrils and throat for analysis on the Covid-19. The material is sent to the National Reference Laboratory. Testing is performed at the expense of the state budget. The answer is provided within 24 hours -36 hours to both the prison and the Center for Disease Prevention and Control of the Ministry of Health.
In prisons, a prisoner informs the Medical department doctors about the complaints on the acute upper respiratory infection. The doctor shall immediately assess the health condition of the prisoner and, if necessary, isolate the prisoner in a cell-isolator. Further measures are taken by the doctor, either by prescribing further monitoring and treatment, taking the test for COVID-19 infection, or, in more severe cases, by calling an emergency team to hospitalize the sick prisoner.
From the day the state of emergency is declared in the country, the Administration monitors acute upper respiratory diseases, as well as all detainees, who are placed in prisons, are isolated and their health is monitored for 14 days. A special attention is paid to elderly prisoners and those suffering from chronic diseases, especially, lung, cardiovascular and diabetic patients. Outside the working hours of the Administration medical institutions, a prisoner shall inform the supervisor of complaints related to acute upper respiratory infection, as well as of any acute illness. The supervisor shall inform the on-call assistant of the Head of the prison, who in turn shall call an ambulance.
According with the Order dated 9 June 2020 of the Latvian Prison Administration, from 10 June 2020 the transfer of prisoners to a medical institution outside the imprisonment place may be resumed in order to receive planned health care services (consultations of specialist specialists, diagnostic examinations and inpatient treatment) on a first-come, first-served basis.
According with the Order dated 9 June 2020 of the Latvian Prison Administration, as from 12 June 2020 inmates may leave the territory of an open prison in connection with employment (with the prior acceptance of the employer) and inmates serving a sentence in an open prison, in Cesis Correctional Institution for Juveniles, partly-closed prison sentences to the highest level, may leave the prison territory for a short-term (also in the framework of allocated incentives) from 10 July 2020.
Restrict visits of third persons, except with a permit of the head of institution with a view to provide the core functions.
Forbid inmates who serve their sentence in the open prison:
Leave the territory of the LPA imprisonment place, except inmates who are employed outside the imprisonment place for the merchant (society with limited responsibility) “Aleks un V”;
From 25 June it is allowed to recommence the short-term meetings and inmates, who serve their sentence in the open prison, may receive guests. From 10 June employees of the state and local government institutions may attend prisons and prisoners may receive parcels. Third persons may attend prisons from 1 August 2020 and the long-term meetings may be recommenced as from 1 July 2020.
As from 8 October 2020, the Latvian Prison Administration has re-introduced restrictions to ensure epidemiological safety in prisons, except for:
The short-term visits may be organized through the Plexiglas and contacting by phone within the technical possibilities of the relevant prison. Family days and long-term meetings with relatives and other persons are cancelled. Free time and mental care events with involvement of third parties are cancelled and not planned at the moment. Prisoners are prohibited to shortly leave the territory of the prison and receive parcels. Inmates who serve their sentence in open units of the prison, except the inmates who are employed by the company outside the prison territory, are prohibited to:
The performers of procedures must be informed about the quarantined prisoners. The Centre for Disease Prevention and Control shall be informed about the release of a prisoner who has been placed in quarantine from detention or after serving a custodial sentence
Cancel and do not plan the earlier arranged leisure and mental care activities for prisoners in which third persons are involved.
Stop the implementation of all resocialisation, interest and non-formal educational programmes in the LPA imprisonment places.
Organize individually the mental care and leisure activities where third persons are not involved.
Determine that, with a permission of the Head of LPA imprisonment place, the additional telephone calls and video calls may be allocated to prisoners.
Within the competence, organize the implementation of the general and professional programmes distantly.
During the emergency situation in Latvia by 9 June 2020, it was cancelled and not allowed to plan the earlier arranged leisure and mental care activities for prisoners in which third persons are involved. Also the mental care and free time activities in which third persons are not involved, were organized individually.
Mental care and free time events where the third persons are involved, may be recommenced from 1 August, and the implementation of interest and non-formal education programmes was started again from 10 June 2020.
Before attending the LPA imprisonment place to request from third persons (including representatives of companies (also the ones who employ prisoners) to submit a written confirmation that they have not visited Covid-19 states and territories, had no contact with Covid- 19 sufferers or contact persons;
Stop physical fitness tests for candidates planned to admit into service.
Cancel the organization of family days.
Stop the face-to-face meetings of citizens in the LPA central office and imprisonment places.
Organize interinstitutional meetings distantly.
To ensure the epidemiological safety in prisons, restrictions on prisoners shall be imposed in accordance with the order of the Head of the Latvian Prison Administration.
No law changes have been made. LPA regularly follows the epidemiological safety measures established in the country, in accordance with which the preventive safety measures are introduced for staff and prisoners.
In Latvian Prison Administration, training activities in presence related to COVID-19 management are not organized.
Remotely, employees have been introduced with a special instruction on COVID-19 infection risks and relevant personal hygiene and preventive measures to be observed.
Also, staff follows the Administration Order “On Ensuring Epidemiological Safety in Imprisonment Places of the Latvian Prison Administration” issued on 14 October 2020 by the Head of Administration, and the state recommendations on epidemiological safety.
According to Section 41 Part 6 of the Sentence Execution Code of Latvia, inmates serving their sentence in open prisons are also allowed, with the permission of the Head of the custodial institution, to keep personal computer equipment with Internet access, if it is necessary for the provision of education or employment of the inmate, and a personal mobile phone. Personal computer equipment and a mobile phone held by inmates are subject to inspection.
An inmate can receive a mobile phone only by parcel or courier delivery. If there is a permission for the acceptance or replacement of the mobile phone, then, in the presence of an inmate, with assistance of Surveillance Section, the parcel is opened, the mobile phone is verified, registered and immediately issued. Mobile phones issued to inmates are registered in the Mobile Phone, Sim Card and Computer Register.
If the phone does not have a permit or the inmate is at work, the mobile phone is kept in the Surveillance Section until issued. SIM cards can be purchased at the prison shop.
Due to the pandemic, there are no significant changes, so far inmates rarely change phones and SIM cards practically not at all.
Inmates keep their mobile phones with them and they are subject to inspection.
Inmates in partly-closed prisons with the lowest or highest degree of serving the sentence have free access to payphones located in all units.
Forbid prisoners to use the allocated incentive to temporary leave the territory of the deprivation of liberty institution.
Stop the marriage registration of prisoners, as well as short and long-term meetings with relatives and other persons.
Stop processing ID documents of prisoners.
Refuse from the convoy of prisoners as requested by performers of procedures, including hearings, as far as possible setting up the hearings in a video conference mode. Stop the transfer of prisoners between the imprisonment places, except transferring prisoners to Latvian Prison Hospital in Olaine Prison and for commencement of the sentence execution of inmates.
Postpone the enforcement of the administrative penalty – administrative arrest – irrespective of the limitation period for serving the sentence. An administrative arrest which will not be executed for this reason and the limitation period of which has entered, cannot be enforced after the end of the emergency situation.
Postpone the transfer and takeover of persons convicted and detained abroad for the further execution of imprisonment or detention in the territory of the Republic of Latvia.
For any further questions regarding the procedures in the state of emergency taken by the Latvian Prison Administration please contact the following:
Jolanta Zagere (Senior Desk Officer)
Project Department of Latvian Prison Administration
Supported by the Justice Programme of the European Union