If you believe that your human rights have been violated while you are in prison, you may submit a complaint about such violation. It is important for preventing an ongoing violation, preventing a future one or for obtaining compensation. 

Read more about the following most common types of complaints:

Complaints about conditions in prison

If you believe that prison conditions are violating your rights, you should complain first to the prison staff and the head of the prison. If you consider that they have not reacted to your complaint properly you should complain further to the Latvian Prison Administration.

Complaints about the actions or decisions of prison staff

If you believe that a decision, or something done by prison officers, violated your rights, you should submit a complaint to the head of the prison or the Latvian Prison Administration. The Latvian Prison Administration is an institution which oversees the functioning of all prisons in Latvia. It is obliged to examine your application. 

According to Latvian law, you can normally appeal a decision by the prison staff within one month of the date you received the decision. Where there is a written decision, the time limit and procedure for appeal must be indicated in the decision.

If you think that certain actions (but not a written decision) of prison staff violated your rights, you should submit a complaint no later than one year after that action. 

If you want to complain about violence or a potential crime committed by a prison officer, read about specific procedures.

Complaints about decisions made by the head of the prison

Generally, you can appeal any decision by the head of the prison to the Latvian Prison Administration. If the head of the prison has issued a decision in writing, the procedure and time limits for the appeal have to be indicated in it. 

Appeal to the Administrative Court

You should appeal decisions of the Latvian Prison Administration which are related to a significant violation of your rights to the Administrative Court. You should file the appeal within one month from the day you received the decision. The decision of the Latvian Prison Administration must also contain information about where and when to appeal. 

Read more about your rights in the Administrative Court.

Appeal to a higher court

The Administrative Court has three levels: 

  • the court of first instance (Administratīvā rajona tiesa
  • the court of appeal (Administratīvā apgabaltiesa) and 
  • the court of cassation (Augstākā tiesa

Normally your claim can be examined at all three instances. Read more about appeals in Administrative Courts.  

Exceptions

Some decisions may only be appealed in one or two levels in the Administrative Court. 

example You may appeal these decisions only to the court of first instance (Administratīvā rajona tiesa): 

  • a prohibition on receiving a visit
  • a decision to monitor a short visit
  • a decision not to allow you to leave prison for the funeral of a relative or for other important reason.

A decision to place you in solitary confinement should be appealed to the court of first instance (Administratīvā rajona tiesa) and subsequently, only to the court of cassation (Augstākā tiesa).

Complaints about the actions of other inmates

The prison staff and the head of the prison are responsible for conditions and good order in prison. Therefore, if other inmates have violated your rights, you should alert the prison staff or the head of the prison. 

Read more about how to complain about crimes committed by fellow inmates.

Human Rights Guide

A European platform for human rights education