Year2021
Contributor(s)APADOR-CH / independents experts

Overview

Incarceration rate (per 100,000 inhabitants)

112

i

The authorities publish official statistics on prison population

on a regular bases

The prison service publishes a daily counter on its website, as well as a database with monthly statistics.

The prison service has a computerised record keeping system

yes

Total number of prisoners

20,570

i
31/01/2020
/ Prison Service, January 2020 statistics, p. 01 (in Romanian)

Variation in the number of prisoners

decrease

A 13% decrease was observed between 2018 and 2020. The number of people imprisoned in January 2018 was 23,050 1.


  1. Prison service, “Annual activity report 2019”, p. 8 (in Romanian). 

Number of people serving non-custodial sentences

Data not disclosed

Non-custodial sentences were introduced into legislation as part of the penal reform of 2014. The country does not produce national statistics on the number of persons sentenced to non-custodial sentences.

Variation in the number of people serving non-custodial sentences

Data not disclosed

Variation in the incarceration rate

decrease

The incarceration rate went from 118 to 112 in the space of two years.

Number of admissions

10,588

i
2018
/ Council of Europe, SPACE I –Report 2019, p. 107.

Number of releases

13,210

i
2018
/ Council of Europe, SPACE I – Report 2019, p. 107.

Average length of imprisonment (in months)

23.4

i
2018
/ Council of Europe, SPACE I – Report 2019, p. 120.

Variation in the average length of imprisonment

decrease

The average length of confinement went from 24.2 months to 23.4 months between 2017 and 2018.

Prison density

110 %

i

Variation in the prison density

decrease

The prison occupation rate went from 120.5% to 110% between 2017 and 2020.

The breakdown of prisoners by length of sentence, as of 31 January 2019 1:

  • one to three months: 0% (6)
  • three to six months: 0.3% (63)
  • six months to one year: 2.6% (480)
  • one to three years: 20.6% (3,868)
  • three to five years: 25.6% (4,804)
  • five to ten years: 27.9% (5,240)
  • 10 to 20 years: 17.4% (3,270)
  • over 20 years: 4.7% (874)
  • life: 0.8% (158)

Overcrowding is an issue for specific types of prison facilities

yes

Prison overcrowding is concentrated mainly in prisons with closed confinement regimes and in some remand centres 1.


  1. European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, “Report to the Romanian government on the visit from 7 to 19 February 2018”, 19 March 2019, p. 34. 

The country has been condemned by an international court for its prison overcrowding

yes

The European Court of Human Rights has repeatedly condemned Romania for the conditions of confinement and in particular the overcrowding of its prisons:

The law no. 169 of 14 July 2017 was passed by the Romanian Parliament following the ECHR convictions and in order to avoid future sanctions. It provided for the release of several thousand prisoners. It was implemented between October 2017 and December 2019.

A supervisory body has issued a decision on prison overcrowding

yes

The Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (SPT) noted the overcrowding of penitentiary establishments during a visit from 3 to 12 May 20161. The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) visited the country’s prisons in 2018. It highlighted the efforts undertaken by the government and the prison service to alleviate prison overcrowding, while noting the persistence of overcrowding in some facilities.2


  1. Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, “Report to the State party on the visit from 3 to 12 May 2016”, 29 January 2019. 

  2. European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, “Report to the Romanian government on the visit from 7 to 19 February 2018”, 19 March 2019, p. 34. 

Name of authority in charge of the prison service

Ministry of Justice

Budget of the prison service

335,380,000

USD - 1,431,920,000 lei

i
2019
/ Prison Service, “Annual activity report 2019”, p. 56 (in Romanian)

Percentage of the ministerial budget allocated to the prison service

31.1 %

i
2019
/ Prison Service, “Annual activity report 2019”, p. 56 (in Romanian)

The prison service outsources the management of the facilities to private companies, either partially or fully

yes, partially

The prison service regularly opens public contracts and invites tenders, in particular for the renovation of its premises, the modernisation of its internal IT system and support for certain categories of prisoners.

The prison service, under the responsibility of the Ministry of Justice, consists of a central service and ten main departments:

  • social reintegration
  • prison security
  • prisoner health
  • human resources
  • project implementation
  • prevention of crime in confinement
  • communication technology and IT
  • administration and finance
  • penitentiary inspection
  • legal affairs

The Ministry of Justice appoints, by decree, the director general of the prison service and its three deputy directors. The facility supervisors are responsible for implementing the decisions taken by the central service. They are required to indicate the specific needs and objectives of the establishment for which they are responsible. 1

The Ministry of the Interior is in charge of pre-trial confinement centres.


  1. Ordinance 160/C/2018 of 8 January 2018 on the organisation and functioning of the prison service. 

The different confinement regimes are:

  • the open regime: applies to persons sentenced to less than one year. They are allowed to take part in activities outside the facility.1
  • the semi-open regime: applies to persons sentenced to between one and three years. They can move freely in prison during cell opening hours. This regime concerns the largest number of prisoners.2
  • the closed regime: applies to persons sentenced to between three and 13 years. They are placed in collective cells.3
  • the maximum-security regime: almost always applies to persons sentenced to life imprisonment or a sentence of over 13 years. Prisoners considered to pose a risk to the facility’s security are also included. In theory, prisoners placed under this regime have individual cells. They are allowed to take part in socio-cultural activities in small groups, and to work in their cells.4

The prison service also bases assignment decisions on an assessment of each person’s character, their perceived harmfulness and the nature of their offence. Some prisoners are assigned a regime that is inconsistent with the length of their sentence.


  1. Articles 80 to 87, Prison Regulations, 10 March 2016 (in Romanian). 

  2. Articles 73 to 79, Ibid. 

  3. Articles 64 to 72, Ibid. 

  4. Articles 55 to 63, Ibid. 

Most penitentiary facilities have several confinement regimes in dedicated quarters, ranging from open to maximum security. Persons awaiting trial are usually held in a dedicated ward. Several wings are located outside the main facilities, mainly to accommodate people placed in open or semi-open regimes. Two confinement centres and two educational centres for juveniles provide for different confinement regimes. There are six prison hospitals throughout the country 1.


  1. Prison Service, “Annual acitivity report 2019”, p. 12 (in Romanian). 

Total number of prison facilities

45

i

Total official capacity of the prison facilities

18,238

This number is calculated on the basis of a minimum surface area of 4 m² per prisoner.

i

The size of facilities varies significantly: from 206 spaces in Miercurea Ciuc prison to 1,509 in Giurgiu prison.

Prisons are located throughout the country. Eleven of the country’s 41 counties have no correctional facilities.

Prison facilities are accessible by public transport

most facilities

Most correctional facilities are located in or near cities.

Number of prison guards (FTE)

7,432

i
31/01/2019
/ Council of Europe, SPACE I – Report 2019, p. 82

Variation in the number of prison guard positions

increase

There was a 4% increase between 2018 and 2019. The number of prison guards in 2018 was 7,140.

Guard to prisoner ratio

1 : 2,8

i
31/01/2019
/ Council of Europe, SPACE I – Report 2019, p. 85.

Number of socio-educational workers (FTE)

617

i
31/01/2019
/ Council of Europe, SPACE I – Report 2019 p. 82.

Percentage of socio-educational workers in relation to the entire prison staff

4.8 %

i
31/01/2019
/ Council of Europe, SPACE I – Report 2019, p. 84.

The prison staff is represented by (a) union(s)

yes

Prison staff are represented by various unions, including two federations:

The Târgu Ocna training school for prison officers provides one-year training courses to classes of over 200 students (242 in 2020). Candidates must first apply through a local institution. The candidate must:

  • be of Romanian nationality
  • live within the national territory
  • have a baccalaureate degree
  • be between 18 and 35 years of age
  • meet the physical and mental requirements
  • have a clean criminal record

Two spots are reserved each year for candidates from the Roma community.

People who have been trained at the police academy in Bucharest or at one of the military academies or officers’ schools (Bucharest, Sibiu, Pitesti) may also join the guard corps.

The gross wages of prison officers in January 2020 were between 4,733 and 8,773 lei (1,133 and to 2,101 USD) 1. Prison guards enjoy a number of benefits. The prison service provides financial support to officers for the construction of their first home. An allowance for rent (up to 50% of salary) and moving expenses may be granted. Medical and paramedical care is offered and can be provided abroad if not available in Romania. There is a 2-year maternity leave, extendable to three years in the case of a disabled child. Vouchers for restaurants and spas can be provided. Some of these benefits are retained after retirement and may also be used by close family members2.


  1. Prison Service, Gross Salary Sheets, January 2020 (in Romanian). 

  2. Law no. 145 of 22 July 2019, on the status of prison officers (in Romanian).