NPM activity in 2018

This part presents the National Prevention of Torture for activities carried out in 2018: inspections at places of detention; systemic, main issues identified during inspections; issued recommendations on improving the human rights situation and achieved positive developments.


On 3 December 2013, after the Seimas ratified the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Seimas Ombudsmen were assigned the task of performing national prevention of torture at places of detention and inspect them on a regular basis, while the Seimas Ombudsmen’s Office was designated as the Institution for the National Prevention of Torture.

2018 is the fifth year when the Seimas Ombudsmen have been performing national prevention of torture, regularly visiting various places of detention and observing how human rights are enforced in them.

The performance of the national prevention of torture requires a comprehensive approach, where instead of solving individual situations, the aim is to identify possible causes of misconduct through systematic analysis of situations of restriction of liberty. These activities are aimed at positive change, to prevent torture, reduce the risk of torture and ill-treatment and improve the treatment of persons whose liberty is restricted. The report below outlines the positive developments that have been made in the performance of the national prevention of torture activities.


Visits to places of restriction of liberty

In the performance of the national prevention of torture, visits were made to various places of restriction of liberty: social care, mental health, imprisonment, police and other institutions. The number of visits to institutions in a particular area is planned in proportion to their number. For example, the largest number of visits made visits to adult social care homes as their number is the largest (over 184 units).

In 2018, a total of 54 visits were made. Taking into account the proportion of places of restriction of liberty, the distribution of visits is as follows: 20 inspections were carried out in adult care institutions, 12 in police detention facilities and/or temporary detention facilities (of which 5 were follow-up visits), 9 in places of detention (housing) of foreigners, 5 in prisons, 4 in child care institutions and 4 in mental health care institutions.

Informational Activities

In the context of national prevention of torture and other activities of the national human rights institution, it is also important to ensure proper dissemination of information on human rights implementation and inter-institutional cooperation, therefore, there is an annual presentation of the performance of national prevention of torture in counties. These meetings are used to present the NPT performed by the Seimas Ombudsmen in various institutions of detention, identify the most urgent issues of ensuring human rights, and analyse their potential solutions. Discussions are carried out on how municipal and child care is organized in municipalities, and what problems are encountered.

In 2018, municipalities of Tauragė and Marijampolė Districts made presentations to representatives of municipalities of Tauragė and Marijampolė districts who work in municipal social service management units and care institutions responsible for long-term social care services for children and adults.


In 2018, the Seimas Ombudsmen met with representatives of the Ministry of Justice and Prison Department regarding the situation in prisons to ensure inter-institutional cooperation. The Seimas Ombudsmen discussed the shortcomings of the penal enforcement system at the meeting of the Seimas Human Rights Committee.

At a meeting with experts on human rights and mental health, a discussion was held on the possible incompatibilities of the new Law on Mental Health with the international standards. Various human rights issues have been addressed at meetings with non-governmental organizations belonging to the Coalition of Human Rights Organizations (HROC), representatives of the Human Rights Monitoring Institute.

Internationally, meetings were held with representatives of the CPT who were visiting Lithuania, experts from the Advisory Committee of the Council of Europe, an expert from the United States of America on long-term social care institutions for persons with disabilities, de-institutionalisation and community-based services. The Seimas Ombudsmen participated in an international round table discussion of experts on the prevention of torture organized by the Human Rights Monitoring Institute, presented the performance of the national prevention of torture in Lithuania. There was also a meeting with Mari Amos, a member of the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture to share the good practice examples in the performance of national prevention of torture.

Staff of the Human Rights Division of the Seimas Ombudsmen’s Office participate in various international cooperation events designated for mechanisms of the national prevention of torture: in Ljubljana (Slovenia), organized by the Human Rights Ombudsman of the Republic of Slovenia together with the Council of Europe, as well as in Copenhagen (Denmark), organized by the International Institute of Ombudsmen and the Office of the Danish Ombudsman.


Within the framework of the Seimas Ombudsmen’s Office as the National Human Rights Institution, the Seimas Ombudsmen organize training and contribute to the dissemination of educational activities and information on human rights and freedoms, and solve the problems related to their enforcement.

On 18 December 2018, the Seimas Ombudsmen’s Office hosted training for officials of detention institutions. During the training, officials of detention institutions were introduced to key human rights aspects, the prevention of human rights violations, an auxiliary model of response to provocation to facilitate positive communication with convicts, and analysed practical situations that officials of detention institutions are often exposed to in their work.

On 6 July 2018, training on human rights monitoring and the performance of the national prevention of torture was organized for specialists from the office of the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights. The training was organized by the Seimas Ombudsmen’s Office within the framework of the European Union’s twinning project “Implementation of the Best European Practices with the Aim of Strengthening the Institutional Capacity of the Apparatus of the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights to Protect Human Rights and Freedoms (Apparatus)”.



Adult care institutions

In 2018, inspections were carried out in 20 (twenty) social care institutions (for adults with disabilities and elderly people):

  • In 10 (ten) care institutions in Marijampolė county: public institution VšĮ “Marijampolės pirminės sveikatos priežiūros centras, Public institution Holy Mary’s Care Home, Marijampolė Special Social Care Home, Public institution VŠĮ “Marijampolės Šv. Arkangelo Mykolo globos namai”, budgetary institution Suvalkija Social Care Home, Kalvarija Care and Employment Centre Care Home, Public institution VŠĮ “Kazlų Rūdos socialinės paramos centras”, Kudirkos Naumiestis Parish Social Assistance Centre, Kukarskė Care Homeand Vilkaviškis District Municipality Gudkaimis Village Care Home (Report No. PRJ2018/1-67 of 12 November 2018);
  • In 10 (ten) care institutions in Tauragė county: Kvėdarna Parish Retirement Home, Care Centre of Public institution VšĮ “Skaudvilės palaikomojo gydymo ir slaugos ligoninė”, Kaltinėnai Parish Retirement Home, Care Centre of Public institution VŠĮ “Kaltinėnų pirminės sveikatos priežiūros centras”, Seredžius Retirement Home, Care Home for Disabled People of VŠĮ “Jurbarko socialinės paslaugos”, Pagėgiai Care Treatment, Nursing and Elderly Care Home, Public institution VŠĮ “Smalininkų senjorų namai”, Adakavas Social Care Home and Tauragė District Municipality’s budgetary institution Lauksargiai Care Home (Report No. PRJ2018/1-75 of 12 November 2018). Experts in social and pedagogical work were involved in the inspections.

After completing the inspections in Marijampolė and Tauragė counties, a total of 378 (three hundred and seventy-eight) recommendations were submitted: 375 (three hundred and seventy-five) to the heads of inspected care institutions and 3 (three) (one of them on the improvement of legal acts) to the Minister of Social Security and Labour of the Republic of Lithuania.

Most of the recommendations – 347 (three hundred forty-seven) – were implemented/partially implemented, 13 (thirteen) – not implemented, and for 18 (eighteen) recommendations the information on implementation results has not been provided.

The Ministry of Social Security and Labour, in providing information on the implementation of 3 (three) recommendations, indicated that they had taken them into account. Social care institutions in Marijampolė and Tauragė counties have not implemented only 13 (thirteen) recommendations from the total of 375 (three hundred and seventy-five) recommendations and have not provided information on the investigation of 18 (eighteen) recommendations.

The main weaknesses identified during the inspections were the following: in some institutions long-term care provision is organized on the basis of the principles of nursing and supportive treatment; not all institutions have ensured they have the number of employees (social workers, assistants and other specialists) in compliance with legal requirements and the needs of the population; employee meetings and their results (decisions) are not recorded in the institution’s internal operational documents; employees lack knowledge of the application of the requirement of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the management of aggressive behaviour and the recognition of signs of violence experienced by persons under their care; there is no investigation into the reasons for the lack of confidence in the employees, dissatisfaction with the services provided; psychological support is not ensured; personal hygiene facilities are not suitable for persons with reduced mobility; not all residential care facilities are equipped with the necessary technical support tools for their employees; not all residents have access to call for aid system at any time, in the case of need; there is no adequate organization of personal hygiene services for the residents; there is no possibility for individuals to safely store their personal belongings; there are no (proper) conditions for individuals to cook food, do their laundry and/or housekeeping independently; the provisions of the internal rules, which do not define the cases when residents are obliged to allow employees to enter their room at any time of the day and to allow inspection of personal belongings and their place and premises, create preconditions for abuse and limit the rights of the residents more than necessary; there is no possibility for people to lock themselves up in the personal hygiene premises; in resident’s rooms, the folding screen is never or almost never used when performing personal hygiene procedures; during an inspection by health care specialists, a community nurse participates during the check conducted by a health care professional despite the absence of a resident’s request; residents who have awareness of their environment are restricted in their ability to move freely within and outside the institution’s territory; the internal rules are not adapted (form, font size) to the residents according to their health condition, also things are placed (hung) without considering their accessibility to the disabled residents; the internal rules of the care institutions are placed in places that are hard to reach (hardly visible) to the residents; the individuals are not granted conditions to make anonymous requests, institutions also have no established internal procedures that set out the procedures for submitting, processing and responding to requests, including anonymous.


In 2018, 4 (four) inspections were carried out in child care institutions in Marijampolė county: at Public institutions VŠĮ “Marijampolės vaiko tėviškės namai”, VŠĮ “Alvito Šv. Kazimiero namai”, VŠĮ “Šakių globos namai” and “Kazlų Rūdos socialinės paramos centras” (Report NKP-2018/1-2).

Experts in areas of the rights of the child and social work were involved in the inspections.

The main shortcomings identified during the inspections are: there are no specialized bodies in the community and there are no specialized services that are necessary for children who have difficult behaviour, many different disorders and addictions; proper work with children in risk groups needs a more varied working methodology; children do not know how to behave in case of fire in institutions; living rooms do not resemble the home environment; children’s rooms lack furniture; the rooms do not have the proper conditions for doing homework; pocket money payment procedure must be improved by introducing disciplinary measures and rules of application, determining the periods of disciplinary action and the proportionality of the measures; suspension or reduction of the payment of pocket money is provided as a disciplinary measure; there is not enough human resources to provide psychologist services qualitatively according to the current needs; inadequate measures to ensure the prevention of smoking, its detection and assistance; conditions for placing anonymous requests are not met.


In 2018, inspections were carried out in 2 (two) mental institutions: Marių unit of the Psychiatric Hospital of the Public institution “Republican Kaunas Hospital” and Public institution “Republican Vilnius Psychiatric Hospital” (Vilnius Psychiatric Hospital) (Report no. PRJ-2018/1-1). In the course of the inspections, mental health experts were involved, two doctors-psychiatrists and a representative of Public institution “Mental Health Perspectives”.

The main shortcomings identified during the inspections are the following: heavy workload for doctors and nursing staff, use of restraining measures in the presence of other patients, not all patients were allowed to take a daily outdoor walk, multi-bed wards (more than 4 beds) did not provide patients with a positive therapeutic environment, most of the patients wear on a daily basis hospital pyjamas of a uniform colour and pattern that do not guarantee the individuality of their clothes, the sense of self-esteem, the absence of upper clothing and footwear in store for patients who have no relatives, not all wardrobes and corridors have cabinets for patients’ clothes, the privacy of patients when their close ones visit is not guaranteed, the privacy of patients is not guaranteed in personal hygiene facilities, and there is often no hygiene measures in these rooms, information required by the patients in the treatment facility is not properly presented or made available to them, patients are allowed to smoke in premises and territories of the treatment units.

There were patients in the Marių unit who did not want to continue their treatment, but were not given the opportunity to leave and their hospitalization was treated as voluntary; there were no patients’ written consent to change their treatment and/or carry out invasive procedures; most patients were unaware of the expected duration of treatment, medication and side effects, alternative treatments; too few psychosocial rehabilitation activities, no rooms for relaxation (employment) and inadequate number of psychologists, hygiene facilities are not suitable for the disabled people (narrow doors, no handrails).

The premises of the Reception-Emergency Department of Vilnius Psychiatric Hospital are too small to provide quality health care to patients, to ensure proper working conditions for doctors and nursing staff, and there are no conditions to submit written anonymous requests.

Attention should also be paid to the changes in the mental health care system in 2018. One of the most important positive changes in the field of mental health care is a new version of the Law on Mental Health Care of the Republic of Lithuania, which will come into force on 1 May 2019. The law currently in force was adopted more than two decades ago (June 1995) and was only modestly amended, leaving a number of obsolete, abstract provisions that are also discriminatory towards individuals with mental and behavioural disorders.

The new version of the Law on Mental Health Care clarifies the concepts and principles of mental health care, sets out in detail the rights and limitations of mental and behavioural disorders in order to enable high-quality mental and behavioural disorder prevention, ensure equal access to quality and accessible mental health care services for all.

  • The principle of minimum intervention was established by giving priority to non-medical treatment, the provision of comprehensive health care services, inclusion of the individual in society and the promotion of autonomy and other principles.
  • The protection of the rights of the incapacitated in the area concerned has been established, namely, the signature of the guardian of such a person alone is not a sufficient basis for hospitalization and treatment of the incapacitated person; hospitalization will have to be extended with court permission.
  • Enhanced protection in the field of representation, namely, at the request of a hospitalized patient, the hospital will have to assist him/her in contacting his/her representative, relatives or decision-making advisor.
  • Clarified the scope and procedure for informing hospitalized patients, namely, the patient will be informed orally and in writing about his/her rights while in the hospital, reasons for hospitalization, objectives and the right to leave the hospital by terminating the provision of personal health care services; a hospitalized patient will be informed about the basis, reasons, objectives, duration, patient rights, treatment applied, informed about the request to be sent to the court and court decision.
  • The provisions of this law have been harmonized with the terms and grounds for involuntary hospitalization without court judgement provided for in the Civil Code. Involuntary hospitalization and/or involuntary treatment without a court judgement will be possible for up to 3 business days, and there will be the need to refer to the court within 48 hours from the onset of involuntary hospitalization and/or involuntary treatment. The intended basis for an involuntary hospitalization of a person is not only a real threat in action, but also an inaction to cause substantial damage not only to his/her health, life, but also to the property.
  • When a person is involuntarily hospitalized, the doctor-psychiatrist shall be required to obtain the patient’s consent to treatment (unless the patient cannot be deemed to be able to reasonably assess his or her interests), however, given the affirmative court judgement to extend the involuntary hospitalization, there is no possibility for the patient to express her/his free and informed consent to treatment.
  • The patient shall have an opportunity to be heard by a court in a hospital or with the help of a remote interview within the framework of dealing with her/his involuntary hospitalization and treatment.
  • A patient who has been involuntarily hospitalized and treated will be entitled to an additional independent assessment of his or her mental health condition if he/she agrees to pay for it.
  • There is a ban on dangerous items in the possession of patients hospitalized in institutions providing special psychiatric services (according to a court order for patients who have had a mental disorder after the commission of a criminal offence or punishment, and after involuntary medical measures for patients permitted by the court for patients who are legally incapable or partially incapable). The list of prohibited items will be approved by the Minister of Health.
  • Provided grounds and basic conditions for use of measures of physical restraint (for hands, isolating the patient in a separate room). The measures of physical restraint shall be applied according to the procedure established by the Minister of Health (no such procedure has been defined yet and every health care institution had its own rules). Monitoring of physical restraint measures in case of involuntary hospitalization andinvoluntary treatment was also established, and they will be carried out according to the procedure established by the Minister of Health.
  • Drafted regulation of video surveillance in mental health care facilities. There is also a limitation imposed on the use of devices with video and audio recording. The health care facility shall have to allow patients to use these devices for personal use in premises in the absence of other persons.       


During the reporting period,the assessment of the human rights situation at custody facilities of county police headquarters and temporary detention facilities of police stations included a total of 7 (seven) inspections of county police headquarters and police stationspremises:custody facilities and temporary detention facilities of Telšiai and MarijampolėCounty Police Headquarters, premises of Kelmė, Druskininkai, Mažeikiai and Šakiai police stations as well as temporary detention facilities of Panemunė police station of Kaunas County Police Headquarters.

Following the inspections, the responsible person – the Police Commissioner General of the Republic of Lithuania – was provided with 7 (seven) recommendations (2 (two) of which are on the improvement of the legal regulation of police activity), while the heads of Telšiai, Marijampolė and Alytus County Police Headquarters were provided with one (1) to fourteen (14) recommendations. In total, 36 (thirty-six) recommendations were made to the afore-mentioned entities. Thirty-five (35) recommendations have been implemented and one (1) has not been implemented.

The response from the Police Department on the content of the recommendations made indicates that one recommendation (to ensure the privacy of the meeting between the suspect and his defender) was not implemented. According to the head of the Police Department, video surveillance (without audio) of the meeting between the suspect and his defender does not violate the confidentiality of the individuals’ communication, but ensures that unauthorized items are not handed and other relevant issues are solved. Telšiai, Marijampolė and Alytus County Police Headquarters informed that they have implemented all the recommendations issued by the Seimas Ombudsman.

The following main shortcomings have been identified during the inspections: lack of cleanliness and order in the premises of the detained and arrested persons;medical examination is performed not of every person arrested and brought to the police detention facility or it is performed not within 24 hours from the moment the person is brought to the facility;health care professionals working in custody facilities lack the knowledge on how to recognize possible misconduct of police officers on arrested persons; persons brought to the custody facility are deprived of continued methadone treatment due to the lack of staff knowledge about the ongoing programme of pharmacotherapy using opioid drugs; medical examinations are carried out by violating the individuals’ privacy; potentiallycomplicated possibilities for the suspect and his defender to plan the actions effectively, the privacy of the meeting between the suspect and his defender is not guaranteed; during the festive period, in the absence of convoys, detainees were held in custody suite for 6 days; because of the peculiarities of logistics, detainees can be often transferred from one place of detention to another.


In 2018, inspections concerning human rights were carried out in 2 (two) imprisonment institutions: in Lukiškės Remand Prison-Closed Prison (hereinafter referred to as “Lukiškės RPCP”) and Central Prison Hospital (hereinafter referred to as the “CPH”).

During the visit in one of the institutions, an expert on procedures of detention, arrest, escort and execution, namely, a representative of non-governmental human rights monitoring organization Human Rights Monitoring Institute was involved.

Following the inspections, systemic deficiencies were identified similar to the ones identified in 2017 inspection. For example: detention conditions, use of special equipment, provision of health care services, etc.

Responsible authorities were provided with 49 (forty-nine) recommendations: the Minister of Justice of the Republic of Lithuania (5 (five), 3 (three) of which was on improvement of legal regulation), the Director of Prison Department (11 (eleven), 1 (one) of which was on improvement of legal regulation), the Director of Lukiškės RPCP – 19 (nineteen) and the Director of the CPH – 14 (fourteen).

Majority of the recommendations, that is, 36 (thirty-six) were implemented in full or in part, for example, concerning issues related to the salaries of officials, vacancies, proper detainment conditions, etc.

Also noteworthy are the intensive changes in the penal enforcement system that started in 2018. The following are the main positive changes within the framework of the implementation of the Seimas Ombudsmen’s recommendations submitted to the institutions of imprisonment system:

  • The salaries of officials are increasing

According to the data provided by the Prison Department and the Ministry of Justice, in 2017, compared to 2016, the amount of funds allocated to the salaries of officials increased by €2,265,000 (8.7%) and in 2018, compared to 2017, by €1,583,000 (5.6%). In 2018, the salary coefficient of junior correctional officials with more than 10 years of experience was increased; there is a reduction of the number of units and positions performing general functions, and the resulting savings will be used to increase the salaries of penitentiary officials and to create additional positions for staff working with prisoners. On 1 January 2019, a new version of the Statute of the Internal Service came into force, according to which all statutory civil servants are subject to the same pay system, and salaries will increase by about 6–8% (an additional €5,000,000 is planned to be allocated to increase salaries).  When increasing the salaries within the penal enforcement system, the priority shall be given to junior and middle correctional officials.

  • All measures are taken to fill vacant posts

The 2018 plan for attracting candidates, prepared by Lukiškės RPCP, information on the opportunity to study the vocational training programmes of the correctional officials and become employed in the institution was made available on the institution’s website, on information stands, on Facebook, on free job search portals such as,,, in regionally published newspapers, on the website of the respective district municipality, during officials’ visits to educational institutions, training centres, libraries and cultural centres, as well as in municipal administrations and elderships, participation in career days organized in Litexpo exhibitions. Despite the publicity measures, the number of security and surveillance officials (hereinafter referred to as “SSO”)set in the norms was not achieved and the vacancies at Lukiškės RPCP were not filled; according to the data of August 2018, the number of SSO junior specialist posts was 38. The main reasons for this were insufficient number of candidates, requirements for education and health condition, increased staff turnover, emigration of young people. The CPH managed to fill almost all of the vacancies of SSO; on 1 December 2018, there was only one vacancy left from 143 SSO posts approved.

According to the data provided by the Prison Department, in 2018, the dynamics of the change in the number of vacancies showed a positive trend, the total number of vacancies in penitentiary institutions decreased from 346 (1 January 2018) to 271 (1 August 2018). In addition, the modernization of penitentiary institutions is expected to reduce the number of physical protection posts on the perimeter of imprisonment areas from 43 (in 2017) to 7 (in 2022).

  • Increased qualification of officials in the field of suicide prevention

Specialists of the Psychological Service at Lukiškės RPCP provide training to officers on suicide, self-harm and prevention of the detained persons, take part in briefing on duty shifts. According to the plan for 2019, officials will attend SafeTALK and ASIST trainings organized by the Training Centre of the Prison Department, where officials will learn to recognize when a person may attempt to commit a suicide and work with people in danger.

  • Improving prison conditions

To ensure that prisoners held in imprisonment institutions have proper conditions, legal preconditions have been created for keeping detainees not only in remand prisons, which do not always manage to comply with the standards of living space, but also in correctional institutions (according to Order No. 1R-148 of the Minister of Justice of 8 August 2018). Part of the individuals from Lukiškės RPCP will be transferred to other institutions already before the end of this year. Lukiškės RPCP has confirmed that a minimum living space is ensured for each person in the institution.

In Vilnius, the construction of an open-type penitentiary/halfway house will be completed, up to 80 convicts could be transferred there from other institutions. Ongoing modernization works of places of deprivation of liberty are carried out: a new cell-type detention facility is being built in Šiauliai, the 3-storey building of Alytus Correctional House is being reconstructed, by transforming its premises into cell-type premises, there is an ongoing reconstruction of Pravieniškės Correction House/open correction colony buildings of the 3rd sector, by transforming its premises into cell-type premises (currently 360 places for prisoners are already equipped); in 2019, reconstruction works will be started in Vilnius Correctional House, where by 2022 there will be created 696 cell-type places for prisoners. It is planned that, once the proposed projects are implemented, the living space per person will increase from 3.51 sq.m (in 2017) to 5 sq.m (in 2022), the number of people accommodated in cells of places of detention will increase from 27% (in 2017) to 51% (in2022).


In 2017, the Seimas Ombudsmen assessed the human rights situation in 9 (nine) facilities of the State Border Guard Service under the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Lithuania (hereinafter referred to as “the SBGS”): Pagėgiai Frontier Station at Vištytis Border Inspection Post, Kudirkos Naumiestis Border Inspection Post, Šilgaliai Border Inspection Post, Viešvilė Border Inspection Post, Kybartai Border Inspection Post, Kybartai Border Inspection Post road border control post and railway border control post , Rociškiai Border Inspection Post and Ramoniškės Border Control Point of Rociškiai Border Inspection Post.

Following the inspections carried out at the Border Inspection Posts and Border Control Points, 9 (nine) recommendations were issued by the SBGS. All of them were implemented.

The SBGS informed that a decision was taken not to use temporary detention facilities that do not comply with human rights standards; officials were instructed in addition to the necessary registration in all cases whether the person delivered to the border inspection post [or border control post (hereafter referred to as “BCP”)] was locked in the detention facility and how long he/she was held there, as well as on the location of the first aid kit, maintenance of the first aid kit and its replacement; temporary detention facilities are provided with appropriate accommodation conditions, and solution of other issues.

The main shortcomings identified during the inspections were as following: temporary detention facilities and sanitary facilities installed there not adapted for the disabled; inadequate lighting and cleaning of premises; some border inspection posts and border control posts have expired first aid kits.