Detention issue

Juvenile prisoners

FRA research findings

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Legal instruments & key provisions

Legal instrument Key provision
Imprisonment Act (Vangistusseadus)Young prisoners are imprisoned in closed or open prisons prescribed exclusively for such purpose (juvenile prisons) or in separate wards of closed prisons (juvenile wards). Young prisoners of up to 18 years of age to acquire basic education to the extent prescribed by law. Young prisoners have also an opportunity to acquire vocational education according to their wish and aptitude.


Year Recommendation Report
2018The Chancellor of Justice (Õiguskantsler) conducted an inspection visit to Viru Prison, where most of the juvenile detainees and young people up to the age of 21 are held. The Chancellor of Justice made the following recommendations: “The cells of the R-building were quite ascetic and bleak. The common areas had a couple of chairs, a table, a sofa, board games, a telephone, a refrigerator and a couple of exercise machines. The furniture in the common areas was worn or broken, paint was peeling off the walls. The general space of the R2 department was empty and unfurnished. The situation of common areas should be improved – tidy up the walls, buy more and better furniture. Serious consideration could be given to allowing young people to decorate the cells to their liking. Report details
2018There are very few juvenile female prisoners in Estonian prisons. Therefore, in strict compliance with the principle of segregation of juvenile and adult female prisoners (including young people, those aged 18–20), it may happen that a minor female prisoner is in solitary confinement throughout her whole prison sentence. This is not permitted under Havana and Mandela rules or in the CPT's view. A safe detention environment must be created for female juvenile detainees. At the same time, they must be able to interact with other people to meet their social needs. Report details