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Prison Service 2013 Summary


Number of prisoners and probationers

The number of prisoners and probationers continued to decrease during the year. While in the beginning of the year there were 3286 prisoners and 6766 probationers, the corresponding numbers were 3026 and 6139 at the end of the year.

During the year, the number of convicted offenders decreased by 121 and the number of persons held in custody by 139. The number of persons under electronic surveillance increased from 83 to 111.

Activities in which prisoners and probationers are engaged

The scope of prisoners’ and probationers’ participation in social programmes did not materially change. 846 convicted offenders (814 in 2012) and 115 persons held in custody (88 in 2012) and 989 probationers (1091 in 2012) participated in the programmes. The prisoners participated most in social programmes that deal with coping with addictive substances and improve social skills, and the probationers participated mainly in the road traffic safety programme and the addiction programme.

The number of prisoners who passed different proficiency courses of the official language grew from 680 to 763 in comparison with 2012. The number of prisoners who study at general education school has also grown. In the beginning of the 2013/2013 academic year, 171 prisoners studied at the basic school (135 in the beginning of last academic year), 90 prisoners studied at the upper secondary school (76 a year before). 269 prisoners started their studies at the vocational school (256 a year before). During the year, 1253 prisoners participated in the auxiliary works (cleaning, kitchen work, food distribution, aftersorting of waste (1135 in 2012). 317 prisoners worked at the plants of PLC Estonian Prison Industries (350 in 2012) and 450 prisoners worked in other companies (371 in 2012).

Prison offences and criminal proceedings

In 2013, the prisons commenced 459 criminal proceedings which is more by 26 proceedings than the year before last. As before, attacks against prison officers (240) (80 criminal proceedings) and insulting of officers (160 criminal proceedings) formed more than half of these criminal proceedings.

During the year, no murders, manslaughters or attempted manslaughters were committed in the prisons.

Two criminal proceedings were commenced last year due to the suspicion of rape. In one case the suspicion of criminal offence was not proved; in another case the criminal proceedings are pending.


Two prisoners committed suicide, in one case in the Viru Prison and in another case in the Tartu Prison. Three prisoners died due to a severe illness or health disorder.


In 2013, the prisons and the Prison Department conducted eight surveillance activities. In three cases, the activities were conducted in order to supervise a person, a thing or an area. The messages communicated by prisoners via telecommunications networks or in some other manner were wire tapped or observed on five occasions.

In addition, information was collected in the framework of criminal proceedings on 33 occasions concerning the fact of messages being communicated via telecommunications networks, duration, manner and form of communication thereof and personal data and location of senders and receivers of such messages.


In 2013, the number of posts of the prison service (of prisons and the Prison Department of the Ministry of Justice) did not substantially change. In the beginning of the year there were 1652.1 posts and at the end of the year 1656.1 posts, whereas the number of posts of prison officers (prison employees who wear a uniform) has remained 1014.7. A small change was caused by the new Civil Service Act which entered into force from 2013 as a result of which the non-staff places of employment were added to the staff.

The proportion of posts filled with prison officers with professional education, i.e. correctional higher education, or with prison officer’s vocational education and the education equalised with them, remained near 61 per cent during the year.

During the whole last year, there were 206 places of employment of probation officers which are included in the staff of the Tallinn, Tartu and Viru Prisons but which are located outside the prison territory. Probation supervisors work in twenty places.