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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Sunday, 05.07.2020, 20:08

Government endorses starting construction of Liepaja Prison in 2021

BC, Riga, 04.06.2020.Print version
The government in Latvia at an extraordinary Cabinet meeting today endorsed in principle the Justice Ministry's proposal to start the construction of a new prison in the southwestern Latvian city of Liepaja a year earlier than planned - in 2021 instead of 2022, informs LETA.

Arguing for the proposal to start the construction works earlier, Justice Minister Janis Bordans (New Conservative Party) said that the project is in a high readiness stage, which means that its launch would require little additional preparation. The minister underlined possible positive effects the construction of the prison could have on the city's economy. 

The Justice Ministry notes in its report that by June 15 it is necessary to conclude an agreement with the state joint-stock company Tiesu Namu Agentura (TNA) on arranging the construction of the new jailhouse. 

The Bordans-led New Conservative Party has declared the Liepaja Prison project a budget priority but due to a lack of funding the project was put on hold. When discussions started on the necessity to stimulate economic activity in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, including by launching various construction and development projects, the prison project was unofficially named as a potential project that could be implemented to drive the economic recovery. 

According to the Justice Ministry's estimates, a result of the project's implementation the state budget will receive between EUR 30 million and EUR 50 million in taxes in the next coming years, "apart from the positive economic and social effects that will be brought about by the implementation of the prison reform, which is impossible without proper infrastructure". 

At present, there are nine prisons in Latvia, of which six have been built more than 18 years ago, and none of the buildings were originally constructed as prisons but were later adapted for these purposes. The prison buildings and their infrastructure have become outdated and dilapidated. 

As reported, at the beginning of 2019 Abora was selected to build the Liepaja Prison complex, offering to implement the project for EUR 113.6 million - less than all the other bidders. However, after deciding against concluding the contract with Abora, the government said that an international tender would be organized to select a builder. 

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