bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Wednesday 25.04.2018 | Name days: Līksma, Bārbala
LatviaLatvia

A talk with prison chief on released murderers with immunity status, marriage and suicides in Latvian prisons

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU«A person who, during the time of the commission of the offence, was in a state of mental incapacity, that is, due to a mental disorder or mental disability was not able to understand his or her acts or control them, may not be held criminally liable,» as stated in the Criminal Law. But what happens when such a person commits a crime again? Should it be considered an error committed by Latvian medical institutions – that such a person is not held responsible for his or her actions? Is it the blindness of the government that prevents resolving one of the most serious problems – monitoring such persons?

«The problem when a person previously released from criminal liability due to mental problems committing a crime again is not resolved well enough. There is no institution to put these people in. In addition, people put in mental hospitals for taking someone’s life are also dangerous for the people working there,» said Prison Administration Chief General Ilona Spure in an interview to BNN.

Spure says that people with a tendency to repeat crimes are put in psychiatric hospitals, but not for long. After being provided with medical assistance – administration of necessary medication – those people are released. This is considered progress. «The problem is that such institutions lack the space, which is often the reason why those people are released early. Unfortunately, there isn’t a single institution in Latvia that would monitor those people after they have been released. This, unfortunately, means those people are free to repeat crimes.»

As noted by Spure, the Prison Administration has no authority to comment on how accurate psychological assessment process is – when a person is declared mentally sane or insane. This decision is for medical institutions to make.

Latvian prisons hospital also has a psychiatric ward that deals with cases when a person is diagnosed with a mental disorder during their prison. «This is within our competence. However, once the prison sentence is over, we have to release the person. Once they leave prison walls – this is no longer in our competence. And this is the weak link, because there is no monitoring. Latvian ministries should sit down and think to resolve this problem,» said Spure.

When asked why this problems was not resolved in the past, Spure said the years of economic crisis are to blame – the budget was simply too constricted to afford forming new institutions. She mentioned that social centres are not effective when it comes to monitoring of people with mental incapacity who committed violent crimes.

It should be noted that it is not possible to put a person with mental incapacity in prison. «If a person is found mentally unstable or mentally unwell, that person is put in an institution that provides treatment. Often people end up in prison as partially mentally sound. Sometimes their state worsens the more time they spend in prison. Nevertheless, each case should be viewed individually,» said Spure.

Paedophilia in Latvia does not decline

According to data from State Police, crime rate in Latvia continues to decline. However, Spure allows that this data may be associated with the change of the population. She also notes that latent crime rates – crimes that go unreported to authorities – remain in majority.

«This is more about domestic violence – against children and women – as well as sex crimes, especially against children. Children subjected to paedophilia are afraid to tell about it to their parents, let alone to the police. Latent crimes prevent us from believing in a decline of crime rates.»

Speaking of paedophilia in Latvia, Spure said that there are around 350 people who face charges of paedophilia every year. She says that the number of sex crimes in Latvia does not have a tendency to decline.

«It is necessary to change people’s attitude. It is necessary for everyone to understand that involvement and reporting are two vital factors to help reduce violence. People are still often indifferent and reluctant to report violence to the police. Here it is vitally important for the police to respond to such reports – it would help people trust in authorities, knowing that the problems they report end up getting resolved.»

Unsafe Latvian prisons?

Latvia is one of the rare European countries that do not suffer from overpopulation. While a couple of years ago the total number of inmates in Latvian prisons was 6,5000, the current number is 3,772. Spure notes that the total number of inmates continues to decline. Because of that, Prison Administration cannot complain about lack of free cells.

Nevertheless, Spure says that old prisons in Latvia are not able to ensure efficient execution of sentences. This is why the government’s decision to postpone construction of Liepaja prison to 2020 is a very painful topic for Prison Administration.

«Construction of a new prison would provide many changes in matters of security. We don’t need four new prisons. Considering the gradual decline of inmates, Latvia could make due with two prisons. Unfortunately, existing prisons are not sufficiently safe on the outside, considering their geographical location. New prisons would undoubtedly increase security, and Liepaja prison already had a plan prepared to improve overall efficiency.»

Comparing Latvia to Estonia, Spure said that the neighbouring country has already sorted out this problem. Estonia has opened its third new prison, and all of the old ones have been liquidated. «This helps perform sentence execution more effectively. They have a good personnel selection system, as well as training – prison officers train for three years, and prison officials are fine waiting for three years and knowing that they will get qualified workers out of it.»

But what about Latvia? «Education opportunities are close to zero, because what is important to know for our officers was previously possible to learn in the Police Academy of Latvia. Now it is no more and nothing has been created to replace it. The current big idea is coming up with yet another project and apply for financing from the Norwegian financial instrument, because there is no other way for us to develop.»

It should be emphasized that not a single new prison was built in Latvia in the past 150 years. «What has been accomplished so far was accomplished using financial support from the Norwegian government.»

Suicides in prisons: people can’t handle psychological pressure, ‘go out’ before being let out

Spure says that in her 24-year-long career in Prison Administration, she cannot recall a single year that passed without a suicide in one of the prisons. Looking at statistics of suicides across the country, prisons take up very little, even considering the isolated environment where people are subjected to increased levels of stress and abuse on a regular basis.

«Most often such cases take place during the arrest and before the announcement of the court’s ruling. There have been cases when people received notes from home, saying ‘I want a divorce’. There have also been cases when inmates could not handle psychological pressure of the realization of being released,» Spure told BNN.

She said that the Prison Administration is currently working on a project to help former inmates. «Of course, we want to find people, institutions and municipalities to provide moral support to those people. Unfortunately, there have been cases when people could not live normal lives after being released from prison – they just commit crimes again and end up in prison. Often those people think life in prison is easier – people there don’t have to think about financial matters. Unfortunately, every next crime those people commit has the possibility of being even worse than the last,» said Spure.

Latvian inmates get marries more and more often

While in the past there had been a dozen or so marriages registered in prison a year, now the number of marriages reaches a hundred. «One the one hand, it is good that people are able to find their other halves even while in prison, ensuring that they have a place to go when they are released. On the other hand there is the quality of marriages. We have seen cases when people simply do not understand that they are getting married – they want to be loved, but reality often turns out drastically different than what they had expected before leaving prison.»


Leave a reply

«Oligarch talks» publication law put on hold; will fabricated «risks» impact UGF?

On Tuesday, 25 April, Saeima’s Legal Affairs Committee decided against putting up for a vote the legislative draft for the digitization and publication of the declassified portion of materials from the so-called oligarch talks criminal case.

OECD to perform independent audit of decisions made by Latvian supervisory services

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development plans to perform an independent audit of decisions made by the Finance Capital and Market Commission and Anti-money Laundering Service, as confirmed by Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola after a meeting of Finance Sector Development Council on 25 April.

Level of prices of agricultural products in Latvia grew 11.6% in 2017

The total price index of agricultural output in 2017 had increased by 11.6 %, which was mainly due to the rise in prices of livestock products of 25.8 %. The price index of crop products grew by 2.2 %.

51% of residents would not purchase goods production of which would pollute the environment

Environment-friendly lifestyle in Latvia, like elsewhere in the world, is becoming more popular every day. So-called green thinking also affects Latvian residents’ habits. 53% of Latvian residents prefer goods and services that help protect the environment, according to results of a study performed by AS Latvijas Zaļais punkts.

World Press Freedom index ranks Estonia highest among Baltic states

The French-based organisation Reporters Without Borders has published its 2018 World Press Freedom index, where Estonia has been ranked 12th and Latvia has been moved up by four positions to the 24th place.

Abu Meri: parliamentary investigative committee could help combat corruption in Riga City Council

«Nils Ušakovs’ policy in Riga is not only non-democratic but also allows for systematic corruption, which has become a tradition. If a week goes by with no scandal, it seems too long. Because of that, I consider forming a parliamentary investigative committee to study corruption in Riga City Council,» said Unity’s Saeima faction leader Hosams Abu Meri in an interview to BNN.

200 thousand Estonian e-mail passwords found leaked online

The global database of the illegally leaked passwords of tons of e-mail addresses contains passwords used by some 215 000 Estonian internet users.

Latvian EC Commissioner invites businesses to prepare for all Brexit scenarios

Businesses and supervisors should prepare for all possible Brexit scenarios, said Deputy Chairman of the European Commission on Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Market Union Valdis Dombrovskis participating in the ongoing finance forum City Week in the UK.

Latvia prepared to pay 4.8 million euros for participation in Expo 2020 in Dubai

Latvian government is prepared for participation in the international Expo 2020 in Dubai. Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis said after a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers this Tuesday that it is planned to allocate EUR 4.8 million for this venture.

Spanish resort city to prohibit renting apartments to tourists

Palma, the Spanish resort city in the Mediterranean island of Majorca, has adopted a restriction that apartment will be not allowed to rent their apartments to travellers, becoming the first place in Spain to introduce such a ban.

Supreme Court of Justice views Kristovskis’ claim against Ventspils City Council

On 25 April, the Administrative Cases Department of the Supreme Court of Justice will be viewing two claims submitted by Ventspils City Council deputy Ģirts Valdis Kristovskis against the city council. «The fact that the case will be viewed verbally and that the defendants include Ventspils City Council, EPRDM and Association of Local Governments is considered unique and unprecedented in Latvia’s court practice,» says Kristovskis.

Messaging app Whatsapp not to be available to under-16s in EU

The smartphone messaging app Whatsapp plans to raise the minimum age limit to its European Union users from 13 to 16 years, as it is adjusting its rules of use to the upcoming EU data privacy regulations.

Saeima speaker in Tallinn: EU and NATO cooperation in defence should be enhanced

Close cooperation between European Union and NATO in defence is now more important than ever. This is especially true for cyber security and hybrid-thread prevention, said Latvian Saeima’s speaker Ināra Mūrniece during a meeting of EU member states parliaments in Tallinn on Tuesday, 24 April.

Ministry avoids going against supporting parties; Ventspils City Council’s violations reported to court

Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry has no influence at all, and sometimes it seems it has no desire to exercise its rights and perform its duties. This situation most likely appeared because the institution is led by a minister who represents a specific political party.

Warfare in Ukraine escalates, soldiers wounded

In the Donbas War that continues for the fifth year in the Ukrainian regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, Russian hybrid forces have this week conducted a total of 44 attacks, wounding five soldiers, the Ukrainian military reports.

Demand for mortgage loans grew 53% in March

Increased demand for mortgage loans with state guarantees was observed in Latvia in March. Nearly every other loan application filed last month was intended for housing purchase using Altum guarantee. The largest amount of interest came from families with children, as reported by Citadele Bank.

Most businesses in Latvia still not ready for data protection regulation

The majority of businesses in Latvia are still not ready for EU General Data Protection Regulation, which is due to come to force on 25 May, says KPMG lawyer and certified data protection specialist Sanita Pētersone.

Finnish prisoners found radicalising towards Islamic and far-right extremism

In prisons in Southern Finland, a study of radicalisation of inmates has been conducted and has identified dozens of inmates, who are moving into either radical Islam or into far-right violent extremism.

Ušakovs invites colleagues from Russia to attend centenary festivities in Riga

Mayor of Riga Nils Ušakovs has invited mayors from 56 cities to attend festivities organized for Latvia’s centenary. This includes mayors of Moscow and St. Petersburg, as confirmed by Ušakovs’ press-secretary Laila Ivāna.

Estonian President sees no return from e-governance

Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid has discussed with Christine Lagarde, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, the Baltic country's experience in providing public e-services to the population.

Norway interested in developing cooperation with Latvia in tourism industry

«Latvia welcomes successful regional and economic cooperation with Norway. Our countries have common values and goals – developing Baltic and Nordic countries as a wealthy and secure European region,» said Latvia’s Economy Minister Arvils Ašeradens during his meeting with Norwegian State Secretary for Trade, Industry and Fisheries Roy Angelvik.

Finland not to continue its basic income scheme

The basic income scheme in Finland that has been tested in the Nordic country since 2017, will not be continued as the Finnish government has decided to look into other schemes for reforming the Finnish social security system

MEP: New Unity may be in the government with other parties that have similar goals

After Saeima elections, New Unity will cooperate with parties prepared to work with the association to accomplish specific goals, says leader of New Unity and member of the European Parliament Krišjānis Kariņš.

Canada experiences tragic attack on pedestrians in Toronto

In the Canadian city of Toronto, a driver has been driving onto pedestrians taking the lives of 10 people and injuring 15 more.

Latvian residents spend an average of EUR 81 on cosmetics every year

Latvian residents spend an average of EUR 81 on cosmetics every year, which is one of the lowest indexes in Europe. Compared to other Baltic States, Latvian residents spend less money on cosmetics, according to data compiled by Latvian Cosmetic Manufacturers Association.