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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 201606 Find in a Library
Title: Nord-Balt Prison Project: A Model for Co-operation and Reform of Prison Systems
Journal: Penological Information Bulletin  Issue:23, 24  Dated:December 2002  Pages:7-9
Author(s): Bjorn Janson
Date Published: December 2002
Page Count: 3
Type: Program/Project Description
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: France
Annotation: This article describes the Nord-Balt Prison Project -- a Council of Europe regional project of cooperation among Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania ("Balt") on the one hand, and Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden ("Nord") on the other -- whose objective is to improve and develop prison systems in the Baltic states.
Abstract: The fundamental problems of the prison systems in the Baltic states are linked to the high prison population, a condition stemming both from legislation and practice. Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, however, have given high priority to legislative reform and do not need international assistance in this endeavor. The Nord-Balt Project has focused on improvement in the administration of the prison services of these countries. Within this focus, attention has been given to prison conditions and their compliance with the European Prison Rules and related instruments. Approximately 5 years after the initial visits in each of the countries, the prison systems have been reassessed through inspections. The progress observed has been dramatic. Organizational structures have been reviewed and modified; staff training has been improved to conform with European standards; and new facilities for staff training are in place. The conditions in the prisons are generally improved, and a more humane relationship between staff and inmates has been observed. Many of the recommendations made by the Council of Europe experts in the initial phase of the project have been followed. Remaining difficulties, however, include the relatively high prison populations, institutional overcrowding, the existence of tuberculosis, and a low level of adequate medical care. The solution to these problems will take time and extensive funding. In discussing the future of the project, this article considers the project as a forum for strategy and long-term policy, the development of a structure for the exchange of ideas and perspectives among the prison staff and corrections managers, the monitoring of developments, and action as a coordinating body.
Main Term(s): Foreign correctional facilities
Index Term(s): Correctional reform; Estonia; Inmate staff relations; International cooperation; Lithuania; Prison conditions; Prison overcrowding; Scandinavia
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