Contributor(s)APADOR-CH / independents experts

Contact with the outside world

All prisoners have the right to receive visits


Prisoners with disciplinary sanctions can be deprived of receiving visitors for a maximum period of two months.

In order to obtain visiting rights, visitors must make an appointment by email or telephone with the prison facility concerned. They must present an official ID.

People eligible to visit


Anyone may visit a prisoner as long as they have an authorisation from the prison director.

There are dedicated rooms for visits.
Open visits take place in common halls with tables and chairs. They can last between 30 minutes and two hours. The number of visits allowed monthly mostly depends on the prison regime:

  • Prisoners under maximum security regimes can only receive three visits per month.
  • Prisoners under semi-open regimes closed or awaiting transfer can receive five visits per month.
  • Prisoners under open regimes can receive six visits per month.

Pregnant women, those imprisoned with their children and minors can receive up to eight visits per month.
Visitors cannot exceed two adults and two minors.
Two or more prisoners from the same family can receive the same visitors at the same time.1

  1. Articles 138 to 142 Prison Regulations (in Romanian). 

Prisoners and visitors can meet without physical barriers


There is usually a physical barrier when untried prisoners or those under a maximum security or closed regime receive visitors. However, these persons can be allowed to receive visitors without barriers when authorised to do so by the prison director (for family reasons, in recompense for good behaviour, etc.).

Prisoners are allowed to receive visits from their children or minor relatives


Visitors under 14 years old must be accompanied by an adult.

Conjugal visits are allowed


Prisoners who wish to receive conjugal visits must work first or take part in social-educational activities.
Those who received disciplinary sanctions within the last six months or have been granted exit permits within the last three cannot have conjugal visits.1

  1. Articles 145 to 147 Prison Regulations (in Romanian). 

Required conditions for conjugal visits

  • marriage
  • intimate partners
  • The prison service has made a medical certificate and screening compulsory since 15 May 2020 for all conjugal visitors as a preventive measure for the Covid-19 pandemic.

    / Prison Service (in Romanian)

Conjugal visits are allowed every three months. Intimate partners are allowed a visit of three hours. Married couples can stay up to 48 hours.
In 2019, APADOR-CH visited several areas meant for conjugal visits. Most of these areas were in good material and hygienic conditions. They are equipped with bathrooms, televisions, refrigerators and sometimes telephones.
However, the association states that among the five prisons visited, the beds and sheets in Giurgiu and Galati prisons were in poor condition.1

  1. APADOR-CH, “Report on the visit to Giurgiu prison”, 27 March 2019; “Report on the visit to Galati prison”, 14 June 2019. 

Every month, visitors can bring up to 10 kilogrammes of food items that do not require cooking, an additional six kilogrammes of fresh fruits and vegetables (except for lemons) and 20 litres of water or non-alcoholic beverages.
Relatives can also send prisoners clothes, televisions (subject to the approval of the prison director), small video games (with an inbuilt screen), musical instruments, religious objects, books and pictures.
The list of prohibited items can be found as an appendix to the prison regulations.

Prisoners should be incarcerated at a location close to their home. Prison facilities are located across different parts of the country, enabling prisoners to stay close to their families. This is not always possible for minors, for whom only four prisons exist in the country.

Prisoners are allowed to exchange mail


There is no limit to the amount of mail a prisoner may send.

Mail exchanged is subject to control


A prison guard opens the letters without reading them in the presence of the prisoners. The date and the names of the sender and receiver are entered in a register.

Prisoners are allowed to receive parcels


E-mail exchange is possible

yes, under certain conditions

Some prisoners are allowed to communicate via email and video calls. [See Telephone calls.]

Prisoners are allowed to make external phone calls


Prisoners under open, semi-open or closed regimes or awaiting transfer can make ten phone calls per day, not exceeding a total period of 60 minutes.
Prisoners under maximum security regimes may make up to three phones calls per day, not exceeding a total period of 30 minutes.1

  1. Article 133, Prison Regulations (in Romanian). 

Prisoners are allowed to call


Prisoners may call up to ten local and/or foreign numbers. They have the right to contact relatives, a lawyer, a bailiff, a mediator, a diplomatic representative or third parties, subject to the agreement of the prison director.

The phones are located

  • in the cells
  • in the yard
  • in the corridors

Phone locations depend on the prison facility.
Telephones are placed in cells in Galati, Giurgiu and Craiova prisons.1
In Miercurea Ciuc, phones are placed in the yard.2 In Târgu Jiu, they are placed in the corridors.3
Phones placed in the corridors can be used by prisoners until 6:30 p.m., while the ones in cells can be used until 9 p.m. Corridors and cells do not allow for privacy during phone calls.

  1. APADOR-CH, “Report on the Visit to Craiova prison”, 1 July 2019. 

  2. APADOR-CH, “Report on the Visit to Miercurea Ciuc prison”, 8 July 2019. 

  3. APADOR-CH, “Report on the Visit to Târgu Jiu prison”, 24 June 2019. 

The cost of phone calls is in line with market prices


Prisoners must load prepaid cards for phone calls.
Prisoners in Târgu Jiu prison complain about the telephone call rate of 0.53 lei per minute. The rate is higher than that of other prisons.1

  1. APADOR-CH, Report on the Visit to Târgu Jiu prison, April 2019. 

Phones calls are wire tapped


Untried prisoners’ calls may be wiretapped.

The use of cell phones is authorised


Only prisoners under open regimes or with a professional duty outside the prison can have mobile phones. The phones must not have internet access.

  • The prison service confiscated more than 7,000 unauthorised mobile phones from 2017 to 2020. It plans to install radio jammers soon, to disrupt mobile phone use.

    / DIGI 24 (in Romanian)

Prisoners have access to video calls with external contacts


Subject to the authorisation of the prison director, certain prisoners may be allowed by the prison service to communicate via email or video calls. The following persons are authorised:

  • persons staying in prisons that are far from their relatives
  • those taking part in social-educational activities, those working and those who show ‘good’ behaviour
  • minors
  • women Prisoners may make up to four video calls per months for a duration of 30 minutes. The conversation is confidential and takes place in a specially equipped area. It can be prolonged in case of exceptional family situations.1

  1. Articles 134 to 136 Prison Regulation (in Romanian).