Contributor(s)APADOR-CH / independents experts


All inmates are admitted to prison with a valid commitment order

Article 556 of the Criminal Procedure Code

Prisoners can inform their families about their imprisonment


There is a reception area for arriving prisoners

in all facilities

Prisoners are placed under observation upon arrival for up to 21 days. Prison staff examine the prisoner’s behaviour and personality, as well as the psycho-social risks they present. 1

  1. Articles 105 to 107, Prison Regulations (in Romanian) 

  • During a visit in 2018, the CPT found that prisoners were subjected to violence when moving from the arrival ward to the general prison regime. It deplored the neglect of individuals placed in the new arrival units.

    / CPT, "Report to the Romanian Government on the visit from 7 to 19 February 2018", p. 74.

A copy of the prison regulations is made available to the prisoners


A staff member provides a booklet on the organisation of life in prison and speaks with each new prisoner to answer any questions. The prison service is required to post prison regulations on notice boards, at documentation points, on internal distribution channels and within each cell.1

  1. Article 46, Prison Regulations (in Romanian). 

Assignment criteria are not clearly communicated by the prison service. The service emphasises vulnerability factors such as sexual orientation, mental disorders, state of health, disabilities, ethnicity, the prisoner’s work history prior to imprisonment and the reason for conviction (especially for sexual offenders).1 These criteria may influence the prisoner’s assignment.

  1. Article 34, Prison Regulations (in Romanian). 

Prisoners can be assisted by a lawyer throughout their incarceration


Prisoners have access to a legal aid centre


The prison service is required to provide rooms for meetings between prisoners and their lawyers. Confidentiality is not always guaranteed, and prison staff are always present to maintain ‘visual surveillance’.

Deaths in custody are logged in a register


Number of deaths in custody


/ Prison Service, "Annual activity report 2019", p. 34. (In Romanian)

Deaths in 2019 were mainly due to cardiovascular disease (16) and cancer (16), HIV/AIDS infections (6) and suicide (7). Two homicides were reported. Prisoner deaths occurred in public hospitals (41.4%), prison hospitals (37.1%) and within prisons (21.4%).

  • Three prisoners died on 17 March 2020, due to an act of arson the arson in their cell in Satu Mare prison. All prisoners were evacuated from the facility due to the smoke. The judicial authorities conducted an investigation to establish the causes and circumstances of the fire.

    / Radio Europa Libera România (In Romanian)

Variation in the number of deaths in custody


An increase of 7.7% was observed between 2018 and 2019. The prison service recorded 65 deaths in prison in 2018.

Number of deaths attributed to suicide


/ Prison Service, "Annual activity report 2019", p. 34. (In Romanian)

Variation in the number of suicides


There was a 30% decrease between 2018 and 2019. In 2018, the prison service recorded 10 suicides in confinement.

Death rate in custody (per 10,000 prisoners)



Suicide rate in custody (per 10,000 prisoners)



National suicide rate (per 10,000 inhabitants)



The prison service must notify a judicial authority for

all deaths

The prison service is also required to inform the labour inspectorate of any prisoner death that occurs while the prisoner is working in detention. Guards must ensure that the scene of the incident is preserved for the needs of the judicial investigation 1.

  1. Article 115, Prison Regulations (in Romanian). 

The prison service is required to immediately inform a prisoner’s relatives in the event of death.

In the event of a prisoner’s death, the service informs the family of the procedure for recovering the remains.

Suicide prevention policies are implemented

in some facilities

Suicide prevention workshops are occasionally organised in prisons, such as in Craiova, Gherla and Codlea in 2018. A guide on suicide is distributed to health professionals responsible for the psychological assessment of prisoners.
The CPT has voiced concern about the confinement conditions of prisoners at risk of suicide. Self-aggression and suicide attempts are subject to disciplinary sanctions, including solitary confinement1. The prison service views these acts as an attempt by prisoners to obtain ‘privileges’ (change of cell, transfer, medical prescriptions, etc.)2.

  1. European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), “Report to the Romanian government on the visit from 7 to 19 February 2018”, 19 March 2019, p. 77. 

  2. Romanian government, “Response to the report of the CPT on its visit from 7 to 19 February 2018”, 19 March 2019, p. 141. 

Allegations of abuse were reported. The U.S. Department of State noted the February 2019 indictment of several officials at Rahova Prison Hospital for mistreatment of inmates between 2015 and 2018. Its annual report highlighted the persistence of mistreatment.1
In 2018, the CPT gathered numerous allegations of mistreatment, ranging from insults to rape, during its visit to the facilities of Aiud, Gherla, Iaşi and Galaţi. In the latter, the specialised intervention corps for law and order was accused of multiple acts of physical and sexual violence. The events took place outside the field of view of surveillance cameras, mainly in stairwells and inside offices.2

  1. US Department of State, “Romania 2019 Human Rights Report”, 2019, p. 4. 

  2. European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), “Report to the Romanian Government on the visit from 7 to 19 February 2018”, 19 March 2019, pp. 35-41. 

The prohibition of torture is enshrined in the Constitution and the legislation


Article 22 of the Constitution, article 282 of the Penal Code

The United Nations Convention against Torture (UNCAT) was

ratified in 1990

All allegations and suspicions of ill-treatment inflicted on prisoners are logged


Medical personnel are required to inform the public prosecutor of any signs of mistreatment observed upon the arrival of a prisoner. The prosecutor can then initiate an investigation1. In 2018, the CPT reported that none of the health professionals interviewed the previous year had the necessary knowledge to diagnose cases of torture and mistreatment. The Committee also deplored the partial and sometimes non-existent recording of abuses suffered by prisoners2.

  1. Article 238, Prison Regulations (in Romanian). 

  2. European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), “Report to the Romanian government on the visit from 7 to 19 February 2018”, 19 March 2019, p. 69. 

Number of recorded violent acts between prisoners

Data not disclosed

The CPT noted numerous cases of violence between prisoners. Abuse, sometimes sexual, was most often observed between fellow prisoners. The Committee obtained a change of cell for three prisoners who were sexually assaulted at Bacau prison. The violent acts observed did not lead to prosecution 1.

  1. European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), “Report to the Romanian government on the visit from 7 to 19 February 2018”, 19 March 2019, pp. 44-45. 

The prison service is implementing a policy of protection against violence between prisoners. Monitoring and information-gathering are in place with a view to reducing ‘violent behaviour’1. Facilities have protection cells to accommodate vulnerable prisoners, with placement decided by the prison head or at the prisoner’s request. Activities and movement can be organised in such a way as to avoid encounters between specific prisoners 2.

  1. Article 36, Prison Regulations (in Romanian). 

  2. Prison Service, “Annual activity report 2019”, p. 23 (in Romanian). 

Each prison facility keeps an updated record of violence between inmates


Number of complaints filed by prisoners against the prison service


/ Romanian government, "Response to the report of the CPT on its visit from 7 to 19 February 2018", 19 March 2019, p. 123.

Most complaints involve the right to a living space of 4 m² per person (208 complaints), the right to own and receive certain items (54), marital rights (52) and access to care (35).

Prisoners may submit written or verbal complaints to the correctional facility’s management.
They can also write to the liberty and custody judge or ask to speak to them confidentially during their on-site visits.1

  1. Article 129, Prison regulations (in Romanian). 

The liberty and custody judge is required to hear prisoner complaints. This judge often has an office within each facility.

The Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) was

ratified in 2009

An NPM has been established

yes, in 2015

Name of the NPM

People’s Advocate

Avocatul Poporului

The NPM has come into office

yes, in 2015

The NPM was appointed by

the Parliament

Structure of the NPM

collegiate body

The work of the People’s Advocate is supported by six collaborators, each in charge of a specific field. External specialists and human rights associations may also be called upon.

Term of office of the NPM

5 years, renewable, revocable

The NPM’s mandate is renewable once and may be revoked by Parliament.

The NPM reports are made public


The NPM publishes on its website annual reports, visit reports, recommendations and any institutional responses received.

Number of visits made by the NPM during the year


/ People’s Advocate, "Annual activity report 2019", 2020, p. 34

In 2019, the NPM visited ten of the country’s 45 prisons: Târgu-Jiu, Găești, Craiova Pelendava, Târgu-Mureș, Aiud, Tulcea, Giurgiu, Ploiești, Ploiești-Târgșorul Nou and Tichilești.

The legislation allows the NPM to carry out unannounced visits


The People’s Advocate may be contacted by any person via mail, e-mail, fax or by filing a request with the regional offices. The person must specify their name, address and the reasons for their request. The events in question must have occurred within the previous year. Letters addressed to the People’s Advocate do not require stamps and cannot be withheld by prison authorities.

  • In 2019, the People’s Advocate received 518 letters of complaint from penitentiary facilities. The complaints mainly concerned confinement conditions, food, violence in prison, as well as the use of video surveillance.

    / People's Advocate, "Annual activity report 2019", p. 24.

The NPM can monitor all prison facilities, units and premises


The NPM recommendations are effectively implemented

in some cases

The NPM conducts follow-up visits, sometimes unannounced, to see whether its recommendations have been implemented.

A regional body monitors the places of deprivation of liberty


The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT)

Its reports are made public


The SPT’s “Report to the Romanian government on the visit from 7 to 19 February 2018” was made public on 19 March 2019.

The Subcommittee for the Prevention of Torture (SPT) has visited the country

yes, in 2016

Its report was made public


The SPT’s “Report to the Romanian government of the visit from 3 to 12 May 2016” was made public on 29 January 2019.

Correctional facilities are monitored by other bodies. The APADOR-CH association has an agreement with the prison service, and regularly carries out monitoring visits within the facilities. It publishes its reports and recommendations on its website. The prison service also has its own internal control body: the inspection of penitentiary services.

  • In 2019, the inspection of penitentiary services carried out ten “thematic” checks and 25 unannounced checks. It received 333 complaints, 48 of which were deemed admissible.

    / Prison service, "Annual activity report 2019", p. 48 (in Romanian).

The law provides for a sentence adjustment system


The decision to grant a sentence adjustment lies with the competent judge in the jurisdiction where the prisoner is incarcerated1.

Sentence adjustments can be granted during the incarceration


The judge may grant a sentence adjustment to a prisoner, provided that any fines be paid and that the sentence does not exceed seven years. The prisoner must ’“show by their conduct an intention to make amends or to take part in community service’”. A conditional supervision period of up to several years may then be accorded by the judicial authorities.
For crimes for which the sentence does not exceed three years, a less restrictive probationary period may be granted1.
Persons sentenced to less than 10 years must have served two-thirds of the sentence before being eligible for an adjustment. Persons sentenced to more than 10 years must have served three-quarters of their sentence before being eligible. If the remainder of the sentence exceeds two years, a probationary period is generally pronounced 2.
Persons sentenced to life imprisonment are eligible for a sentence adjustment, provided they have already served 20 years in prison. The convicted person must also have demonstrated good conduct. The decision lies with the competent magistrates, who may decide on a probationary period of ten years. 3
The granting of a sentence adjustment is notably conditional on the prisoner’s ‘good conduct’. Recorded in a register, this includes participation in activities, work carried out and offences committed.

  1. Articles 83-98, Penal Code 

  2. Articles 100 to 106, Ibid. 

  3. Article 99, Ibid. 

Prisoners can contest a negative decision of sentence adjustment


The law provides for a temporary release system


Permissions for temporary release may be granted for good behaviour.1

  1. Article 213, Prison Regulations (in Romanian). 

  • In 2019, the service granted 5,749 24-hour leaves and 2,950 leaves exceeding 24 hours.

    / Prison service, "Annual activity report 2019", p. 24 (in Romanian).

The law provides for a sentence adjustment for medical reasons


A suspension of sentence may be granted if the prisoner’s state of health is not compatible with their imprisonment. Pregnant women may also be granted an adjusted sentence. 1

  1. Article 589, Penal Code 

Number of prisoners who have been granted a presidential pardon or amnesty during the year


The Constitution entrusts the responsibility for declaring amnesty to the government and Parliament. The President of the Republic may grant individual pardons.