She said that the Prison Administration will save €3.5 million by closing the Brasa prison. All inmates have been transferred to other detention facilities, while staff will be offered other jobs in Rīga and its vicinity.
Brasa was built in Riga during the Tsarist era, and with every year its maintenance has become more difficult. It was found that reconstructing or renovating the building was impossible because of international requirements for jail infrastructure.
Justice Minister Jānis Bordans (New Conservative Party) said that this amounts to a historic turn. The minister said that the new approach and developments require different prison infrastructure.
The financing saved after closing down Brasa jail will be used to increase wages for Prison Administration employees and infrastructure in other jails.
Prison Administration chief Ilona Spure underscored that the time has come to make the next step in development of Latvia’s prison system. “Safe and modern prison infrastructure not only guarantees the basic rights of inmates set by international law, but also increases overall security of the staff and the society. Also, the prison staff have the rights to work in contemporary and safe work environment. I believe that the recent public calls to transfer the funding earmarked for construction of Liepāja jail should be considered as a serious threat to internal security,” she said.
There are nine other correctional facilities operated in Latvia, including two in Rīga.
As reported, Ilona Spure earlier said the 1905-built prison is in a very poor state and inmates had been able to extract compensations to the tune of €35,000 from the state last year over the fact that adequate living conditions can't be ensured.
Brasa, located next to a residential neighborhood, is a male prison for inveterate criminals. It housed about 340 inmates before closure.