Year2021
Contributor(s)APADOR-CH / independents experts

Special populations

Number and percentage of female prisoners

4.5 % (921)
i
31/01/2020
/ Prison Service, p. 01 (in Romanian).

Variation in the number of female prisoners

decrease

There was a decrease of 15.8% between 2018 and 2020. In 2018, there were 1094 female prisoners.

Percentage of untried female prisoners

7.5 %

i
31/01/2019
/ Council of Europe, SPACE I – Report 2019, p. 44.

Percentage of foreign female prisoners

0.6 %

i
31/01/2019
/ Council of Europe, SPACE I – Report 2019, p. 44.

The prison of Târgșorul Nou, in Ploiești, is the only women-only facility.
There are women’s units of varying sizes in the prisons of Arad, Bacău, Craiova, Gherla, Constanța -Poarta Albă and Mioveni.
In other facilities, there are cells reserved for female prisoners awaiting transfer.

There is an effective separation between men and women

yes

Untried female prisoners are separated from the convicted

yes

The prison staff is

exclusively female

Female prisoners may nonetheless be supervised by male staff during transfer.

Searches are conducted by a female staff member.

A gynaecologist examines female prisoners at their arrival. The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) reports that the prisons of Bacău et Gherla have no framework in place to evaluate issues affecting female prisoners, such as mental health, gynaecological care or self-harm. Women are not asked whether they have experienced sexual violence. In 2018, the CPT noted that the feminine hygiene kits given out for free each month were insufficient.1


  1. European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT), “Report to the Romanian government on the visit to Romania from 7 to 19 February 2018”, 19 March 2019, p. 62. 

Female prisoners who are held in a women’s unit within a men’s prison are frequently denied access to activities and struggle to access education and work. During a visit to Bacău prison in 2018, the CPT observed that untried female prisoners and women held under maximum security regimes have access to very few activities1.


  1. European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT), “Report to the Romanian government on the visit to Romania from 7 to 19 February 2018”, 19 March 2019, p. 63. 

Conjugal visits are allowed for women

yes, with proof of long-term relationship

The legislation provides for a sentence adjustment for pregnant women or women with young children

yes

Pregnant women can request that their sentence be suspended. See Sentence adjustments

Pregnant women receive proper prenatal care

yes

Childbirth takes place in

external care failities

The prison service must transfer pregnant prisoners to a prison hospital one month before their due date. The prison hospital then transfers the prisoner to an external care facility to give birth.1


  1. Article 160, Prison Regulations (in Romanian). 

The use of instruments of restraint is forbidden during labour and childbirth

yes

Mothers are allowed to keep their children with them

yes, up to 1 year of age

The only women-only institution, Târgșorul prison, has a living space for mothers imprisoned with their children . The living space comprises two bedrooms, a kitchen and a bathroom. The bedrooms have children’s beds, changing tables and toys. Women imprisoned with their children have a dedicated courtyard.1

Women in prison with their children receive special food. Children receive regular visits from a general practitioner or paediatrician. They are vaccinated.

The law bans the imprisonment of minors

yes

Minimum age of juvenile incarceration

14 years old

A child between 14 and 16 years of age is held criminally responsible if it is proven that they acted knowingly.1


  1. Article 113, Penal code

Incarcerated minors

1.4 % (292)
i
31/12/2019
/ Prison Service, "Annual activity report 2019", p. 13 (in Romanian).

A total of 821 young adults aged between 18 and 21 were imprisoned with minors at the end of 2019.[^young people]

[^young people]: Prison Service, “Annual activity report 2019”, p. 13 (in Romanian).

Variation in the number of incarcerated minors

decrease

There was a decrease of 37.9% between 2009 and 2019. The prison service recorded 470 imprisoned minors in 2009.1


  1. Prison Service, “Annual activity report 2019”, p. 13 (in Romanian). 

Ministry in charge of juvenile offenders

Ministry of Justice

Minors are not subject to a specific independent justice system. The Penal Code and the Code of Penal Procedure, resulting from the reform of penal law in 2014, refer to minors. The new Penal Code modified the punishments that can be given to minors who have committed a criminal offence.
Minors are judged by ordinary courts. These courts have specialised divisions to deal with cases involving minors and family matters. In general, minors have the same procedural guarantees as adults.[^note] However, the probation service plays a greater role in cases involving minors. If the court requests it, the service can submit an evaluation of the minor’s situation. Trials involving minors not open to the public.
Minors cannot be sentenced to life imprisonment. The maximum possible prison sentence for minors is 15 years.1

The law sets out particular sanctions for minors. They may be subject to ‘educational’ measures, which may or may not involve the deprivation of liberty:

  • civic programmes: these programmes can last for up to four months and aim to help the minor to understand the consequences of their actions
  • probationary measures: the minor’s social relations and school attendance are monitored over a period of two to six months
  • a measure referred to as day-to-day assistance: the minor must follow a programme of activities coordinated by the probation service for a period of three to six months
  • curfew: this measure is implemented every weekend for a period of four to twelve weeks
  • deprivation of liberty1

Minors whose sentences involve the deprivation of liberty are held in two types of institutions:

  • educational centres, for a period of one to three years
  • prisons for minors, for a period of two to five years

These two types of institutions are overseen by the prison service.

Figures on juvenile prisoners are published

on a regular basis, every year

Juvenile prisoners are separated from adults

-

Minors and young adults (18-21 years) who committed a crime while they were minors serve their sentences together in the juvenile prisons in Craiova and Tichilești, and in the education centres of Buziaş and Târgu Ocna.

The law provides for single cell accommodation for juvenile prisoners

yes

Where possible, untried minors are held in single cell accommodation. Minors imprisoned at Tichilești are held in shared cells for three to five people.1


  1. People’s Advocate, “Report on the visit to Tichilești detention centre,16 July 2019, pp. 3-6 (in Romanian). 

The schooling of minors is compulsory

yes

The schooling of minors is compulsory in Romania up to the age of 16. The prison service considers the schooling and professional training of minors to be a priority.1


  1. Article 317, Prison Regulations (in Romanian). 

The law forbids solitary confinement for juvenile prisoners

yes

The most common sanctions are:

  • warnings
  • temporary prohibition of buying and receiving articles
  • exclusion from collective activities for up to four hours per day (limited to five days)

Young adults in institutions for minors can be placed in solitary confinement or have their visiting rights suspended.

On 16 July 2019, the National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) visited the juvenile prison in Tichilești. On that date, the facility held 199 young people, or 70% of its operational capacity.
Minors are held in shared cells for three to five people. Each cell has storage space and a television. The cells do not have air conditioning and are described as suffocating in the summer. The report indicates that ‘quarantine’ cells for new arrivals and sick prisoners are in terrible condition and are infested with flies.
The kitchens are in a state of disrepair. Nonetheless, the food offered is adequate for the nutritional needs of young prisoners.
The NPM noted the existence of an area of the prison with about ten places, inspired by the Scandinavian model and funded by the Norwegian government, where prisoners coming to the end of their sentences have a greater degree of autonomy.
In 2018, a library with several thousand books opened in Tichilești. The prison has a sports court. Information desks are accessible. Minors can use these desks to check hearing dates, their bank account and their legal situation.1


  1. People’s Advocate, “Report on the visit to Tichilești detention centre”, 16 July 2019, pp. 3-6 (in Romanian). 

Teaching is provided by national education officials.
Minors and young prisoners have access to different types of group and individual activities and workshops, advice, psychological support and moral education.
Orthodox prisoners can attend religion classes.
The prison service judges the participation of young prisoners in the activities provided by the educational centre of Buziaş to be satisfactory. Numerous associations and institutions are involved with this centre.1


  1. Prison Service, “2019 Activity report for the educational centre of Buziaş”, pp. 2-4 (in Romanian). 

Numerous specialised psychologists and educators work in the education centres and prisons for minors.
In 2019, the NPM recommended further education for all staff working in facilities for minors. In the view of the NPM, the psychologists and educators should have better adapted offices and their own IT equipment to carry out their work.1


  1. People’s Advocate, “Report on the visit to Tichilești detention centre”, 16 July 2019, pp. 3-6 (in Romanian). 

1.1 % (236)
i
31/12/2019
/ Prison Service, "Annual activity report 2019", p. 16 (in Romanian).

Variation in the number of foreign prisoners

decrease

There was a decrease of 13.2% between 2018 and 2019. In 2018, the prison service recorded 272 foreign prisoners.

As of December 2019, the following nationalities were most represented in prison: Turkish (16.1%), Moldovan (16.1%), Ukrainian (7.6%), Hungarian (4.2%), Bulgarian (4.2%), Iranian (3.8%), Serbian (3.8%) and Syrian (3.8%).1


  1. Prison Service, “Annual activity report 2019”, p. 16 (in Romanian). 

Foreign prisoners are informed of their right to communicate with their consular representatives

yes

The prison regulations are translated for foreign prisoners

yes

Non-Romanian-speaking prisoners are given a booklet explaining how life in prison is organised. It is available in Hungarian, English and French.1


  1. Romanian government, “Response to the report of the CPT on its visit from 7 to 19 February 2018”, 19 March 2019, p. 136. 

Foreign prisoners can be assisted by an interpreter

in some cases

Foreign prisoners must be accompanied by an interpreter at their hearings. [^int]: Article 256, Prison Regulations (in Romanian).

Foreign prisoners are entitled to legal aid

yes

Foreign prisoners may request an appointed solicitor.

Crossing the Romanian border illegally is punishable by six months to three years in prison or by a fine. Foreigners who are already banned from entering the country can be sentenced to one to five years in prison. This does not apply to minors and or to individuals who are recognised as victims of human trafficking.1


  1. Article 262, Penal code

Foreign prisoners are allowed to remain in the country after having served their sentence

under certain circumstances

Refusal of stay in Romania can be another punishment in addition to a prison sentence.1


  1. Article 66, Penal code

Foreign prisoners are allowed to work while incarcerated

yes

Like all prisoners, foreign inmates can make phone calls to ten people in Romania or abroad. They can contact family members, a lawyer, a notary and a bailiff.

Foreign prisoners do not have a special regime of visits. They are allowed to talk to visitors in their mother tongue.

Cumulative sentences have a limit

yes

Sentences cannot exceed 20 years.

There are specific prison facilities for long-term prisoners

yes

Individuals sentenced to more than three years in prison are automatically placed in a closed regime at the start of their sentence. Individuals sentenced to more than 13 years in prison are placed in a maximum security regime. This can be re-evaluated during their sentence.

Life sentences are banned

yes

People serving a life sentence

0.8 % (158)
i
31/01/2019
/ Council of Europe, SPACE I – Report 2019, p. 52.

Variation in the number of people serving a life sentence

decrease

There was a decrease of 1.9% between 2018 and 2019. In 2018, there were 161 people sentenced to life imprisonment.

A life sentence can be imposed in the following cases: homicide or attempted homicide with aggravating circumstances (premeditation, cruelty)1, high treason, crimes against the security of the state, mass poisoning, murder or attempted murder of foreign diplomats, genocide or crimes against humanity.2
A life sentence can also be imposed for wartime treason, surrender or desertion on the battlefield and the majority of war crimes.3


  1. Article 189 of Penal code

  2. Articles 396, 401, 402, 403, 408, 438, 439, ibid. 

  3. Articles 398, 421, 422, 440, ibid. 

There are specific prison facilities for life-sentenced prisoners

yes

Life-sentenced prisoners are placed in a maximum security regime from the start of their sentence.

A life-sentenced prisoner may apply for parole after 20 years. They must have demonstrated good behaviour. When the court judges that the person can be reintegrated into society, they may be released with a ten-year probation period.1


  1. Article 99, Penal code

10.2 % (2,102)
i
31/12/2019
/ Prison Service, “Annual activity report 2019”, p. 14 (in Romanian).

Variation in the number of untried prisoners

decrease

There was a decrease of 53% between 2009 and 2019. In 2009, there were 4480 untried prisoners.

Untried prisoners are separated from the convicted

-

Untried prisoners are placed in one of 52 remand centres managed by the Ministry of the Interior and the police, or in correctional facilities under the authority of the Ministry of Justice.
In 2019, the CPT recommended that the Romanian government place all remand centres under the authority of the Ministry of Justice.[^cond] [^cond]: European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT), “Report to the Romanian government on the visit from 7 to 19 February 2018”, 19 March 2019, p. 25.

The law provides for release on bail for untried prisoners

yes

The bail amount is set by the judicial authorities.1


  1. Articles 216 and 217, Criminal Procedure Code

The length of pre-trial detention is initially limited to 30 days. The prosecutor may request that a judge renew it for an additional 30 days. The total duration of the pre-trial detention cannot exceed 180 days.1


  1. Articles 233 to 236, Criminal Procedure Code

Untried prisoners can request the judge to revoke their pre-trial detention and replace it with an alternative measure (judicial supervision, house arrest, warning, etc.)1

Untried prisoners are generally placed in shared cells. When they are detained in a prison facility, they are held separately from convicted prisoners. They are authorised to make three phone calls per week. Adults can receive four visits, and potentially a conjugal visit if their pre-trial imprisonment lasts longer than 60 days.
Untried minors can receive six visits per month. There is usually a separation device in place during these visits.
Untried prisoners are authorised to work and take part in certain activities. They can access the library. They are subject to similar search and monitoring controls to prisoners who have been sentenced.1

In remand centres, there is insufficient bedding. The windows are too narrow to ensure adequate ventilation, and sanitary facilities are in poor condition. Numerous prisoners have made complaints about the food. Most of them can only leave their cell for one to two hours per day, to walk in small yards (between 8 m² in Cluj and 20 m² in Iași). These yards are sometimes partially covered by a Plexiglas roof panel.
In correctional facilities, untried prisoners can only take part in activities for a few hours per month.
Paid work is not authorised. The CPT notes that there are untried prisoners working in exchange for small rewards, such as longer visits.2


  1. Articles 246 to 274, Prison Regulations (in Romanian). 

  2. European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT), “Report to the Romanian government on the visit from 7 to 19 February 2018”, 19 March 2019, p. 24-32 and p. 53. 

Data collection about prisoners’ minority or indigenous background is allowed

yes

Prisoners can, however, state that they belong to an ethnic minority. Romania recognises two such minorities: Hungarians (Székelys from Transylvania and Csangos from Moldavia) and Roma.

Minority or indigenous backgrounds are criteria for specific cell or unit assignment

in certain cases

Ethnic background is one of the vulnerability criteria taken into account by the prison service when a prisoner is evaluated.

During the CPT visits to Bacău and Iaşi prisons in 2018, Roma prisoners stated that they were subject to racist insults from guards.1 Ethnic minorities, and particularly Roma people, face numerous prejudices in Romania.2 Judges and prosecutors who met with the association APADOR-CH acknowledged structural judicial discrimination affecting Roma people. Although there is a lack of official statistics, they are heavily overrepresented in the prison population.

The prosecution or imprisonment of a person on the grounds of their sexual orientation or gender identity is banned

yes

Homosexuality is no longer punishable by imprisonment since 2001.

LGBTI persons are separated from other prisoners

in some cases

Sexual orientation is one of the criteria of vulnerability identified by the prison service. However, LGBTI persons are not systematically separated from other prisoners.

The prison service does not provide specific protection for LGBTI prisoners.
In its visits to Galaţi prison, the CPT learnt that one male prisoner was forced to perform oral sex on an officer. The Romanian authorities affirmed that the victim was gay. The CPT states that ‘Sexual violence in prison is not linked to homosexuality per se but to power relations and humiliation of the victim.’ The CPT judges that the internal oversight body has failed in its mission by ignoring multiple allegations of mistreatment of prisoners.1


  1. European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT), “Report to the Romanian government on the visit from 7 to 19 February 2018”, 19 March 2019, p. 38. 

The prison service keeps a record of elderly prisoners

yes

Elderly prisoners (≥60 years)

3.8 % (783)
i
31/12/2019
/ Prison Service, "Annual activity report 2019", p. 13 (in Romanian).

Elderly prisoners do not benefit from specific arrangements or care.
Prisoners over the age of 65 at the time of their trial cannot be sentenced to life in prison. The maximum sentence for them is 30 years.1


  1. Articles 57 and 58, Penal code

The prison service keeps a record of prisoners with disabilities

yes

Prison facilities are adapted to the needs of prisoners with disabilities

no

No particular accommodations are provided to prisoners with physical disabilities.

The prison service sometimes employs prisoners to provide support to prisoners who need assistance because of a disability. Some inmates may also have a guide dog.1
The presence of an interpreter is mandatory at the hearings of deaf and hard-of-hearing prisoners.2
The CPT recommends that prison staff receive training to respond to the specific needs of disabled prisoners.3


  1. Articles 257 and 283 Prison Regulations (in Romanian). 

  2. Article 256, Prison Regulations (in Romanian). 

  3. European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT), “Report to the Romanian government on the visit from 7 to 19 February 2018”, 19 March 2019, p. 40. 

Death penalty is abolished

yes, since 1989

Romania abolished the death penalty on 31 December 1989, following the fall of the Communist regime and the execution of President Nicolae Ceaușescu and his wife Elena.