Contributor(s)APADOR-CH / independents experts

Security, order, and discipline

Security functions are fulfilled by

the prison service

Some prison facilities, units or cells implement high-security measures


Those placed under a maximum-security regime are incarcerated in areas with reinforced security systems.

Prisoners are classified according to their supposed level of dangerousness


The ranking of prisoners depends on: first, the nature of their offense, and second, the length of their sentence. Their ranking can change at any point during their incarceration. The administration keeps the following in mind:

  • the risk of running away
  • punctuality when returning from permitted outings
  • possession of illegal goods and substances
  • violence committed against personnel and other prisoners
  • psychological evaluations

The classification of prisoners is revised

every six months

The ranking of prisoners placed under a maximum-security regime can be re-evaluated after a year and a half of incarceration. An evaluation is generally done every six months to confirm or change the detention regime.1

  1. Romanian government, “Response to the report of the CPT on its visit from 7 to 19 February 2018”, 19 March 2019, p. 98. 

Open and semi-open detention regimes are managed based on the principle of dynamic security. These regimes affect a significant portion of the incarcerated population. The CPT recommended that the dynamic regime be used in maximum security areas, replacing special intervention teams.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. 43. 

The manners and procedures in which body searches are done are regulated. Individuals are submitted to thorough (naked) searches before being admitted into prison. The prisoners are systematically searched after each visit. They can be searched, thoroughly or not, every time an overseer deems it necessary. Naked searches must be done out of the field of view of a camera and carried out by an official of the same sex as the prisoner.

All searches are logged in a register

on some cases

Searches are logged in a register when goods are seized or confiscated.

Body cavity searches are conducted by a physician


Relatives who enter the prison are searched using the following methods

electronic devices

Visitors can, in certain cases, be patted down or inspected by search dogs.1

  1. Article 143, Prison Regulations (in Romanian). 

Professionals who enter the prison are searched using the following methods

electronic devices

Professionals must leave their cellular phones at the entrance of facilities.

Prisoners that are in disciplinary confinement or hospitalised cannot be handcuffed.
When doing transfers or searches, guards can be accompanied by dogs.

Prisoners under maximum security regimes can be handcuffed during transfers. The use of these restraints depends on the establishment supervisor’s authorisation.
Handcuffs can be left on before a representative of the judicial system or an institution or before a health professional, if requested.1

  1. Article 62, Prison Regulations (in Romanian). 

Security staff carry

non-lethal weapons

In order to restore order, guards are allowed to use dogs, batons, rubber bullets, irritants and water jets, as well as incapacitating sound and light devices.
In certain situations, guards are equipped with knife-proof vests and helmets with a visor.1

  1. Article 14, Prison Regulations (in Romanian). 

A special intervention unit is in charge of restoring order


There are special intervention groups in maximum security areas. They are generally in the hallways. They wear bulletproof vests, hoods, helmets, batons and gloves. They are said to be intimidating. In 2018, during its visit, the CPT received numerous allegations of ill treatment by members of these groups. It questioned their ‘modus operandi’, which it describes as having ‘carte blanche to deliver their own brand of justice.’ The CPT invited the authorities to put an end to these groups.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. 42. 

Provisions are not in place regarding policies for the prevention of violent extremism and radicalisation. Such a policy is not considered important in the Romanian prison context.

The prison service keeps record of incidents


Number of escapes


In 2019, three people escaped correctional facilities. Seven people fled while outside of the prison.1 Escaping is punishable by law and can lead to six months to three years of prison time.2

  1. Prison Service, “Annual activity report 2019”, p. 21 (in Romanian). 

  2. Article 285, Penal Code

Number of violent acts against prison staff


This number includes physical and verbal assault.

/ Prison Service, "Annual activity report 2019", p. 23.

Breaches of discipline are clearly defined in writing


Prison rules specify the different disciplinary offenses. Each facility is required to list them in its rules and regulations.

The sanctions for minor offences are:

  • warnings
  • suspension of the right to participate in cultural and sports activities for a maximum of one month
  • suspension of the right to work for a maximum of one month

The sanctions for more serious offences are:

  • the suspension, for a maximum of one month, of the right to buy products at the commissary (except for hygiene products or mailing items needed to guarantee the prisoner’s defence)
  • the suspension of the right to visits for a maximum of two months
  • solitary confinement for a maximum of 10 days1

  1. Articles 216 to 218, Prison Regulations (in Romanian). 

Prisoners are allowed to be assisted by a lawyer


The disciplinary commission is responsible for issuing sanctions. It is made up of two deputy directors (in charge of security, education or assistance) and a third member appointed by the establishment director.

Prisoners may appeal against disciplinary sanctions


After the disciplinary commission’s sentence has been communicated, the prisoner has up to three days to make an appeal. It then falls to the supervisory judge to make a ruling.

Disciplinary sanctions can be imposed as a collective punishment


Disciplinary sanctions have an effect on the length of a sentence. They especially impact prisoners’ credits, which affect sentence adjustments.

Solitary confinement can be used as

  • punishment
  • protection
  • security measure

Disciplinary facilities have solitary confinement and protection cells. The latter are used to temporarily isolate at-risk and vulnerable prisoners upon their request or at the administration’s discretion.1

  1. Articles 24 and 225, Prison Regulations (in Romanian). 

Solitary confinement is decided

  • by a magistrate’s order
  • by the prison governor
  • at the request of the prisoner

The duration for placement in solitary confinement is limited


Solitary confinement cannot exceed 10 days. Placement in protection cells is limited to 24 hours.1

  1. Articles 216 to 218, Prison Regulations (in Romanian). 

Prisoners in solitary confinement receive regular medical care


People placed in solitary confinement must be examined daily by a doctor. The doctors have the ability to cut the confinement short.

Solitary confinement takes place either in a closed regime cell or in a specially-equipped location. The cell must have a source of light and natural ventilation, as well as a way to be heated and adequate sanitation facilities.

Prisoners placed in solitary confinement should be able to benefit from at least one hour per day of outside air in specially-equipped yards.

Access to activities and work is not possible during the period of solitary confinement. Isolated prisoners do not have access to a television or a radio.

Prisoners placed in solitary confinement are not allowed to have visits from relatives. They are, however, authorised to send and receive mail.