Latvia, 21-25 November 2022 – In November 2022 five officials of the Probation Department of Kyrgyzstan visited the Republic of Latvia on a study visit, organized via a joint European Union / UNODC project on supporting Justice Sector Reform in the Kyrgyz Republic: Advancing Probation and Integrated Justice Information.
During the mission, the Kyrgyz delegation found out more about the practices of the Latvian Probation Service, focusing in particular on probation supervision, implementation of rehabilitation and reintegration programmes, community works, preparation of pre-sentence and parole reports as well as mediation processes and mentorship.
When the delegation met with Ms. Sanita Jakuseva, the Head of Mediation and Public Involvement Coordination, she noted, “Mediation is one of the elements of restorative justice and a way to work with a person found guilty by a court, but in respect of which the punishment is replaced by probation. The probation process is improved by the analysis of scientific sources and statistical materials, which helps the participation of convicted persons in restorative justice programs and the ability of such programs to build social functioning skills.”
Delegates undertook a practical exercise on communication with and monitoring of probation clients, shadowing probation officers, and visited several social service centers.
Ms. Iveta Vilcane, Head of the SPS Latgale’s Regional Structural Unit and Ms. Aleksandra Kerna, Expert at SPS Latgale’s Regional Rezekne Division, commented, “Probation officers serve an essential function in the criminal justice system, monitoring offenders placed on probation. They help set rehabilitation plans and meet with offenders to ensure they're following the rules of their probation and that they aren't a safety threat to the community. Shadowing a probation officer helps managers see first-hand what the job entails while enabling them to ask questions to see if the job is right for them.”
As a result of the visit, the officials of the Probation Department obtained knowledge, experience and strategic vision on the development of a probation institute in Kyrgyzstan. To facilitate further cooperation, it was agreed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between the Kyrgyz and Latvian Probation Services.
Mr. Daniyar Moldokul uulu, Deputy Director of the Probation Department under the Ministry of Justice of the Kyrgyz Republic, thanks UNODC for organizing the study visit. He highlighted his department’s readiness to apply the knowledge and best practices gained.