12 January 2017

 

Susitikimas kalėjimų departamenteThe Seimas Ombudsman, Augustinas Normantas, has met with the head of the Prison Department, Živilė Mikėnaitė, and the governors of prisons. The Minister of Justice, Ms. Milda Vainiute, and the Chairs of the Seimas Committees on Human Rights and Legal Affairs, Mr. Valerij Simulik and Mr. Julius Sabatauskas, also attended the meeting.

At the beginning of the gathering, Mr. Normantas, the head of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office, drew the attention of the managers of penitentiaries towards pressing problems in prisons, including poor incarceration conditions. “They continue to be in a state of non-compliance with the statutory regulations regarding minimum space per person,” he noted.

Mr. Normantas supported the opinion of the Chair of the Seimas Committee Legal Affairs who pointed out that without handling the problem of confinement conditions, Lithuania not only violates human rights but also pays out immense sums adjudged to convicts because of extreme imprisonment conditions.

“The European Court of Human Rights is considering launching a case against Lithuania owing to systematic human rights violations in prisons,” he emphasised.

The head of the Seimas Ombudsmen’s Office acknowledged that there were numerous problems which required additional funding to deal with. However, he stressed that the recommendations provided by him addressed issues, the resolution of which mainly depended on the decisions of the governors of prisons.

“The overall number of complaints from prisoners has decreased this year; however, the number of justified complaints has increased. The investigation of them revealed that many of the issues were handled formally without taking into account human rights standards,” he noted.

At the end of the meeting, the administration of the Prison Department introduced the short-term tasks and presented the priorities of the activity of the institution.

“The deployment of the dynamic security model in prisons as well as an increased occupation of prisoners are among priorities assigned to the administration of the penitentiaries,” noted Ms. Mikėnaitė, the head of the Prison Department.

The Seimas Ombudsmen defend the human right to good public administration, which ensures human rights and freedoms and oversees public authorities to ensure they comply with their duty to adequately serve the people. The Parliamentary Ombudsmen also carry out national prevention of torture at detention facilities under the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.