The legality of the operation of the Criminal Sanctions Agency and its units and officials is monitored within the Criminal Sanctions Agency by the internal control of the administrative branch. The Central Administration of the Criminal Sanctions Agency monitors the overall operation nationwide and the region directors of the criminal sanctions regions monitor the operation of the units in their regions.
The main external authority overseeing legality in the Criminal Sanctions Agency is the Parliamentary Deputy Ombudsman. Other authorities overseeing legality include, among others, the Ombudsman for Equality and the Data Protection Ombudsman. The Ombudsman for Equality provides instructions and guidance if a person suspects that he or she has been discriminated on the basis of gender, gender identity, or expression of gender identity. The Data Protection Ombudsman oversees the legality of the processing of personal data and the realisation of the data protection rights of people.
The Criminal Sanctions Agency is not competent to investigate complaints regarding the health care or medical treatment of prisoners. The legality of the health care and medical treatment of prisoners organised and provided by the Prisoners' Health Care Unit is overseen by the Regional State Administrative Agency of Northern Finland.
A complaint concerning the same matter cannot be filed to more than one overseer of legality. A complaint is usually investigated by that authority who receives the complaint first.
The primary duty of the Criminal Sanctions Agency is to see that the penal sanctions passed by the courts are enforced lawfully and safely. Prisoners and community sanction clients must be treated with justice and respect for their human dignity.
If a client or a close person of the client considers that the client has been treated inappropriately or suspects that an authority or a public official has not complied with the law or fulfilled the obligations, the client can discuss the matter with the staff of the prison or the community sanctions office or file a complaint to an authority that oversees legality.
However, the aim should be to solve problems and conflict situations primarily by discussing the matter with the staff. It is usually the quickest way to solve it.
A request for an administrative review is the primary means of legal remedy and appeal. The Acts on different types of sentences (Imprisonment Act, chapter 20, section 1; Remand Imprisonment Act, chapter 15, section 1; Community Sanctions Enforcement Act, section 86; Act on Probationary Liberty under Supervision, section 40) include lists of the decisions of the Criminal Sanctions Agency that are eligible for a request for review. A request for an administrative review has to be submitted in writing within seven days from the date of service of the decision. A decision regarding a request for an administrative review may be appealed against to an administrative court. Decisions of administrative courts may be appealed against only if the Supreme Administrative Court grants leave to appeal.
In principle, the complaint process is not meant for those decisions that are eligible for a request for review. However, the complaint process can be used to investigate the procedures, such as has the right to request a review been realised.
An administrative complaint has to be filed in writing and it can be freely formulated in the person’s native language. Filing a complaint does not cost anything. The complaint has to include the name and contact information of the person filing the complaint. The person should also attach the possible decisions on the matter and other relevant documents to the complaint. An administrative complaint concerning a matter dating back more than two years is not admitted for examination without a special reason.
Contents of a complaint
- The person filing the complaint has to specify, which act or omission of the Criminal Sanctions Agency or its official the person criticises.
- The complaint has to include the grounds for considering the conduct of the Criminal Sanctions Agency or its official to be wrong.
- The complaint should provide information about the time of occurrence of the act or omission in question.
- The person filing the complaint should mention if a complaint on the same matter has been filed elsewhere.
Filing a complaint on behalf of another person based on a power of an attorney
A complaint may be filed about a matter concerning oneself, but it is also possible to file a complaint on behalf of someone else or together with others.
In general, information concerning a sentenced or imprisoned person is confidential. Pursuant to section 12 of the Administrative Procedure Act, the services of an attorney or a counsel may be used in an administrative matter. However, an attorney has to produce a power of attorney or supply other credible proof of his or her authorisation to represent the client. In other words, if a person files a complaint on behalf of someone else, the complaint has to include a power of an attorney issued and signed by the represented person who thus authorises the person filing the complaint to proceed with the matter. If the power of attorney is not delivered, the person filing the complaint cannot be given information concerning the sentenced or imprisoned person due to the provisions on confidentiality.
The authority overseeing legality has to take the measures that it considers appropriate on the basis of the complaint. If the complaint does not require any measures to be taken, the person who filed the complaint has to be notified of this.
In its decision on a complaint matter, the authority overseeing legality may draw the attention of, for instance, the prison or the official to the requirements of good administration or inform them of the authority’s understanding of lawful conduct. If this is not found sufficient, they may be given an admonition. The authority overseeing legality may not amend or rescind the given decisions in its response to the complaint. In addition, no appeal may be made against a decision given in a complaint matter.
Central Administration of the Criminal Sanctions Agency
Postal address: Lintulahdenkatu 5, 00530 Helsinki
Fax: +358 29 56 65440
Region Centre of the Criminal Sanctions Region of Southern Finland
Postal address: PO Box 6, 00581 Helsinki
Fax: +358 29 56 81119
Region Centre of the Criminal Sanctions Region of Western Finland
Postal address: PO Box 723, 33101 Tampere
Fax: +358 29 568 3709
Region Centre of the Criminal Sanctions Region of Eastern and Northern Finland
Postal address: PO Box 273, 70101 Kuopio
Fax: +358 29 56 87049
Postal address: Office of the Parliamentary Ombudsman, 00102 Eduskunta
Fax: +358 09 432 2268
Office of the Data Protection Ombudsman
Postal address: PO Box 800, 00521 Helsinki
Fax: +358 29 566 6735
Office of the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman
Postal address: PO Box 24, 00023 Government
Fax: +358 29 566 6829
Office of the Ombudsman for Equality
Postal address: PO Box 22, 00023 Government
Prisoners' Health Care Unit / Prison Hospital
PO Box 181, 13101 Hämeenlinna
Regional State Administrative Agency of Northern Finland
Postal address: PO Box 293, 90101 Oulu
National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health Valvira
Postal address: PO Box 210, 00281 Helsinki
Fax: +358 29 520 9700