A capsule with message to next generations has been enclosed in the foundation of the new Re-socialization Centre for Addicts at the Olaine prison.

With the new unit for drug and alcohol addicted prisoners going under construction, conference “Re-Socialization Centre for Addicts – a Path to a Safer Society” was organized at Olaine prison on 26th August.

Attendees of the conference were presented interim results of the project “Creation of a new unit at Olaine prison, including construction and training of staff” implemented under the programme “Reform of the Latvian Correctional Services and Police Detention Centres”. The participants were also given an exclusive tour around the planned centre and were invited to participate in laying a foundation stone with an enclosed message for next generations.

Dainis Učelnieks, the project manager from construction company RE&RE, emphasized that, “Olaine Prison’s Re-Socialization Centre project is of national importance, as it marks the start of a new and improved prison system in Latvia. We, as building developers with vast experience, faced great challenges, because we had little time to set up a construction site and organize construction process in a prison where space is limited yet safety precautions and procedures are very strict.”

Aldis Gulbis, the technical director of RE&RE, expressed his confidence in the entire team that project implementation will be timely, of high quality and in accordance with planned objectives.

A large proportion of prisoners have used addictive substances prior to their imprisonment, and crimes committed are often a logical next step to such lifestyle. The project attempts introducing new methods to the Latvian prison system for work with imprisoned addicts to create best practices that can be adopted when working with other prisoner groups as well.

The planned re-socialization centre of the prison can accommodate up to 200 prisoners, who will be selected out of eight Latvian prisons. The work will be organized in form of therapeutic communities with personnel acting as liaisons.

85% of funding comes from the Norwegian Financial Instrument, while 15% - from the Latvian state budget. Total cost is 8 277 294 euro.