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Editorial: hard potatoes and court overloads


A year ago, European Court of Human Rights happened to satisfy appeal by inmate against Estonian state. A drug lab manager was distressed by lack of sporting options behind bars. After that, complaints by prisoners snowballed to exceed appeals to Tartu Administrative Court by people at liberty – 1,100 out of 1,800 filed from jail. The said court is suffering the worst, located in region of the major prisons. 

International and local law is for all, even for such as don’t keep it. And that’s the way it’s got to be. Still, the things the serial complainers bring up are largely rather weird. Some dream of taking off the shirt in summer. For some, prison potatoes aren’t boiled soft enough. Some are distressed by not having a Jeep Grand Cherokee yearbook handy. It’s not the shirt, jeep and potato, we suggest – in all likelihood, it’s just feels bad to be locked up and any way to show it goes.

Sure, some appeals are at least partly justified, and who is right is largely a matter of interpretation. Of such complaints, a considerable share comes regarding the cell size and technicalities like whether bathroom area is to be included or not.

Obviously, the justified appeals need to be dealt with. Meanwhile, the weirdoes have overloaded administrative court so that law abiding people are waiting in longer lines.

What then to do? Never should we consider depriving inmates of option to appeal. That, as experts have pointed out, might make for a dangerous precedent – who’s next?

One way would be just get reconciled to the bother and keep adding money and staff to tackle the avalanche.

Even so, there’s a better way – deal separately with the serial complainers, as pointed out by Supreme Court administrative college chairman Ivo Pilving in Postimees today. The option has already been suggested to justice ministry. If that turns into law, we’ve made progress.