Prison and probation

There are approximately 2,250 imprisoned persons in Estonian prisons – half the number of people that were imprisoned 15 years ago.

The number is still relatively much higher than elsewhere in the European Union and far above the average in Central and Eastern Europe. One reason why this number is still so high is the legacy of the occupation period: for decades, the idea of prisons as a semi-military closed system was limited to the detention of prisoners. By contrast, the purpose of modern prison work is to change those who can become law-abiding citizens and to safely detain those who cannot be changed.

Above all, this requires educated and capable employees who value their work. In the coming years, the focus will be on creating development opportunities for employees and recruiting people who have the ability and desire to do modern prison work. Thanks in large part to the College of Justice of the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences, there are more and more of them.

There are three cell-based prisons in Estonia – the Tallinn, Viru, and Tartu prisons – where communication between prisoners is restricted to prevent the spread of criminal knowledge and to lead prisoners on a law-abiding path. Whenever possible, persons are put in a prison close to their place of residence so they could maintain their social ties and contact with their family during their imprisonment.

You can find out more about the organisation of prisons on the website of prisons.

Last updated: 22.11.2021