Study visit to penitentiary institutions in Barcelona
On 29 and 30 March 2010, a delegation comprised of Director of the Lithuanian Prison Department, Director of Prison Hospital and Director of Kaunas Remand Prison took part in a study visit to Barcelona, Spain. The main purpose of the visit was to get acquainted with organization of methadone maintenance therapy (MMT) in Catalonian prisons in order to prepare for introduction of MMT in Lithuanian prison settings.
The participants met with the representatives of Department of Justice and visited La Model, Brians 1 and Brians 2 prisons. Particular focus was on implementation of methadone maintenance therapy and coordination with services in the community. Participants also got acquainted with results of the evaluation and impact of harm reduction programmes on spread of communicable diseases. Prison authorities noted that since introduction of methadone maintenance therapy and needle and syringe programmes, HIV and hepatitis C incidence has reduced significantly. There have been no cases of new HIV infection or reinfection in prisons and also improvements in prison environment and reduction in heroin use have been reported. Information obtained during the study visit will be used in organizing introduction of methadone maintenance therapy in Lithuanian remand prisons.
Since January 2010, an inter-ministerial work group chaired by Lithuanian Ministry of Health is developing protocols for collaboration and exchange of information between prisons, police arrest houses and community treatment programmes. It is anticipated that by the end of 2010, MMT will become available in remand prisons of Lithuania.The study visit was organized in cooperation with Connections project.
From left to right: Mr. Saulius Vitkūnas, Director of Prison Department of Lithuania and Mr. Jaume Martin Barberan, Adviser in charge of international relationships, Ministry of Justice at the meeting in Man's Penitentiary Centre of Barcelona "La Model"
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