All conflicts between prisoners should be properly investigated. You should immediately notify prison staff or the administration if a conflict arises. The prison staff or administration must react to your complaint, investigate the situation and prevent similar situations in future. 

Duty to investigate

The investigation should be conducted thoroughly, independently and effectively. The more severe the results of the conflict, the more detailed the investigation that is required. If another inmate committed a crime against you during the conflict, the Latvian Prison Administration should start a criminal investigation. In such a case, evidence should be collected and decisions made according to the rules outlined in the Criminal Procedure law

example A verbal insult should be investigated, but a brief investigation is enough. However, if someone is stabbed during a fight, the investigator must initiate criminal proceedings, collect evidence, question witnesses etc. 

If a prison officer is accused of a crime or has used unjustified force against you, the investigation should be carried out by the Internal Security Bureau.

Requirements for investigation

The investigation must be effective. This means that:

  • the investigation should be begun promptly (as soon as possible after the conflict)
  • all available evidence should be collected (eyewitness testimony, medical reports etc.)
  • the investigation should be independent – the investigators of the prison should not be connected with any of the involved parties
  • at the end of the investigation, all conflicting parties should be identified and, where required, punished

What human rights violation may there be?

Prohibition against inhumane or degrading treatment

An ineffective investigation might lead to a violation of the State’s duty to prevent inhumane or degrading treatment against you.

Right to life

An ineffective investigation of any case of death in prison may violate the right to life

How to complain

If you believe that your rights have been violated, you should complain to the Latvian Prison Administration. Where criminal proceedings are initiated (or are not initiated, when they should have been) – you should complain to the prosecutor. Read more about how to complain.

Human Rights Guide

A European platform for human rights education