Generally, this includes an opportunity to read, write, exercise or pursue a hobby that is compatible with your life in prison. You are also entitled to spend at least 1 hour outdoors every day. However, the extent to which other activities can be provided for you depends on the prison’s resources.

Outdoor activities

As a minimum the prison administration must grant you an opportunity to exercise or have a walk outdoors at least once a day. According to the Sentence Execution Code of Latvia you must have an opportunity to have access to outdoor activities for at least 1 hour every day.

The yard of the prison (or some other place for walks and outdoor exercise) must be accessible to persons with a disability as well. The space for outdoor activities should be big enough to actually do exercise or at least walk around. If the space is just big enough to take a couple of steps in each direction, this may, in the long run, violate your rights. 

Prohibiting you to go outside should not be used as a way to punish you.  This means that you should be allowed to go outside when you are in solitary confinement as well.

You have the right, not a duty to go outside for a walk or exercise, therefore, no one can force you to go for a walk if you don’t want to.

Other activities

Latvian law  gives you the right to: 

  • regularly borrow books from the prison library 
  • either use your personal TV and radio or to watch TV in a special room outside your cell for a certain period of time. This opportunity depends on your regime in prison 
What human rights violation may there be?

Prohibition against inhumane or degrading treatment

A lack of opportunity to do outdoor activities or any other activities in combination with other inappropriate conditions in prison, may lead to a violation of the prohibition against inhumane or degrading treatment. However, the effect this leaves on your physical and mental condition must reach a certain minimum amount of severity. 

example If, for some reason, you are not allowed to take daily exercise once or twice, it will most likely not amount to a violation of your rights. However, if you are living in a small cell with a large number of other prisoners and you are allowed outside exercise only once every two weeks, this will probably violate your rights.

Read more about how to evaluate whether your rights have been violated. 

How to complain

If you believe that your rights have been violated, you should complain to the prison administration. Read more about how to complain.

Human Rights Guide

A European platform for human rights education