From 3rd January 2022, the long-standing Head of the State Probation Service of Latvia (SPS) Mr. Mihails Papsujevičs has advanced in his career and has been promoted to the position of the State Secretary of the Ministry of Justice of Latvia. This is a significant event for the Latvian criminal justice system, not only because Mr. Papsujevičs has been with SPS since its very beginning in 2004 and led SPS for the last 8 years, but also because his promotion symbolizes the recognition of probation philosophy and social inclusion within the wider criminal justice system.
During his tenure as the Head of SPS Mr. Papsujevičs with his devoted team has introduced several important tools and innovative approaches. Some of his most important contributions are:
- Introduction of electronic monitoring within Latvian criminal justice system;
- Expansion of probation volunteering programs (victim-offender mediation, mentoring, Circles of support and accountability);
- Inter-agency cooperation model (inspired by UK MAPPA). This platform has been very helpful in preventing re-offending and since 2015 SPS has organized more than 2000 inter-agency meetings;
- Digitalisation of the SPS, including the development of e-justice system;
- Introduction of concept for model probation office;
- Creation of specialized units for work with children and youth;
- Development of the in-service training system, including e-learning platform;
- Establishment of very close cooperation relationships with the Prison Service;
- Significant improvements in remuneration and social guarantees for probation officers, including 35h working week for probation specialists working with clients.
On 16 March 2022 Imants Jurevičius, a long-term close associate of Mr. Papsujevičs and former Board Member and Vice-President of the Confederation of European Probation (CEP) was appointed as the Head of SPS. Mr. Jurevičius has been with the SPS since 2005 when he started his career as a probation officer, and during the last 10 years, he has been in charge of the strategic development projects. Since 2019 he was the Head of the Development and Performance Analysis Department of the SPS – Deputy Head of the SPS.
Mr. Jurevičius has plans to further strengthen the reputation of SPS as a socially responsible organization:
- To develop efficient alternatives to imprisonment and applicability of various restorative justice practices;
- To promote social inclusion of probation clients with particular focus on employment of probation clients;
- To expand co-operation and information exchange mechanisms with both public and non-governmental partners;
- To participate actively in overall digital transformation processes of the Latvian public administration, for example, further development of the E-Justice system.