Updated 9 November 2020
All surfaces in commonly used premises (kitchenettes, toilets, showers, leisure rooms, door handles, windowsills, etc.) are regularly cleaned and disinfected.
Prisons are recommended to install quarantine/observation spaces. Prison director, in his absence – a prison officer on duty, after being reported about a possible coronavirus case, should immediately take the measure to place a potentially infected person into isolation, call the ambulance and inform the National Public Health Centre. Prison officers responsible for isolation of a potentially infected person should be wearing appropriate protective clothes. Other prisoners from the same cell or who had contacts with a potentially infected person should be isolated from the rest of the prison population to the extent that they have no direct contact with persons without protective measures until the results of a potentially infected person are available. Isolated persons should be wearing protective face masks. In case the results are negative isolation is withdrawn. In case of positive results persons are kept being isolated until further instructions from the medical experts and the National Public Health Centre.
Prisoners transferred to Lithuania from foreign countries during the past two weeks as well as newly accepted prisoners are placed in isolation for 14 days.
No visitors are allowed. Defenders’ visits are allowed in exceptional cases, when they are necessary for protection of human rights and failure to do so would constitute a serious and irreversible violation of human rights.
Inmates are granted additional phone calls.
The female prison is sewing masks.
Besides screening of incoming and outgoing persons and their belongings, the persons are subject to contactless temperature measurements, immediately responding to health complaints of persons being screened. Hygiene awareness – see above. Staff is regularly instructed on prevention of coronavirus, steps to be taken in case of coronavirus in prison or among staff. Staff is encouraged to strictly follow basic hygienic rules and immediately consult over phone/call national crisis phone centre in case they themselves observe any symptoms which may indicate coronavirus (the same procedures as outside). Protection measures against the virus should be stocked in places with easy access for the staff 24/7. Recruitment and transfer of staff, all qualification upgrading and other events, incoming and outgoing visits are banned, distance communication or communication by other remote means to be used when/if possible. Employees having returned from foreign countries have to stay in self-isolation for 14 days.
The majority of staff wear masks (especially prison guards), personal hygiene and disinfection of hands are the most commonly used anti-virus things. According to our regulations, staff in contact with a possibly infected person should be wearing full protective clothing. No such cases yet. Direct contacts are limited as much as possible.
Inmates and prison staff are daily reminded of hygiene for prevention of COVID-19 spread (personal hygiene, disinfection of surfaces, ventilation of premises, observation of personal health status, any health problems should be reported to prison staff). In case of necessity, information is provided by audio means.
The TV crews have to contact the prisons directly with the request to enter the prison. It is up to the prison director to make a decision whether to allow the crew in or not. During the lockdown no TV crews were not allowed into prisons, the permission may be given after very serious considerations. All precaution measures should be taken to minimize the risk of infection (sanitizing, face masks, social distancing, etc.).
The Lithuanian Prison Department has not yet received any petitions from Human Rights Organizations.
In Lithuania the restrictions placed on prisoners are based on the Orders of the Director General of the Prison Department, issued in compliance with the Government Resolutions and the decrees of the State Commander of National Emergency Operations.
On 01-07-2020 the amendments to the Penal Sanctions Enforcement Code of the Republic of Lithuania were adopted as a result of COVID-19. The amendments empowered the Director General of the Prison Department, having notified the Minister of Justice, to restrict the inmates’ rights in case of the national emergency.
Art 119.2 of the Penitentiary Code of the Republic of Lithuania stipulates that “when a state of national emergency, quarantine or emergency situation is declared in the Republic of Lithuania or the parts thereof, the Director General of the Prison Department or the authorized official has the right, after notifying the Minister of Justice of the Republic of Lithuania, to issue a temporary order, valid no longer than until the state of national emergency, quarantine or emergency situation is revoked, to suspend or restrict:
1) prison leaves;
2) posting of inmates’ letters and delivery of incoming letters or handed-over items to inmates;
3) third persons’ entrance to the penitentiary establishments;
4) purchase of personal items for inmates;
5) cultural, sports or other crowded/mass events at the penitentiary establishments;
6) implementation of other rights which, pursuant to the legislation of the Republic of Lithuania, may be temporarily restricted during a state of national emergency, quarantine or emergency situation.”
Long-term visits (up to 24 hrs) were suspended in all the Lithuanian penitentiary establishments since spring 2020. On 29 October short-term visits were suspended. Inmates were offered three additional video visits or telephone calls to compensate short-term visits.
Since 30-10-2020 all leaves were suspended for all categories of inmates.
Entrance of the community, NGO or religious representatives to the establishments is decided on a case-by-case basis by the director of the correctional establishmen
All incoming and outgoing movement as well as transfer of prisoners are not allowed. Prisoners on return are placed in isolation for 14 days.
For any further questions regarding the procedures in the state of emergency taken by the Ministry of Justice: Prison Department of Lithuania please contact the following:
Žydrė Lebedevienė (International cooperation)
Prison Department of Republic of Lithuania
Supported by the Justice Programme of the European Union