Contributor(s)APADOR-CH / independents experts

Daily life

All prisoners are entitled to spend at least one hour a day in the open air


The prison service offers activities to prisoners


Untried prisoners have access to fewer activities than sentenced prisoners. Daily walks are sometimes the only time they are outside of their cells.
Maximum security regimes include three hours of daily activities, counting a one-hour walk. The closed regime allows four hours of daily activities outside of cells.
Several prisoners from various facilities have complained about the limited number of proposed activities.

There are designated places for physical activities and sports


Exercise equipment is sometimes placed in the exercise yard. A number of facilities have soccer fields.
The APADOR-CH noted that in 2019, the Craiova prison had a sports room with seven pieces of weight training and fitness equipment and a ping-pong table.1

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

There are designated places for cultural activities


Each block of the Galati prison has a room specifically for socio-educational activities. Theatre workshops are offered at Craiova prison.1

  1. APADOR-CH, “Report on the Galati prison visit”, 14 June 2019. 

Prisoners are not included in the choices of activities offered.

Access to activities depends on the prisoner’s detention regime as well as the number of available places.

Prison facilities have a library


There is a library in each facility. The one in Craiova prison has around 5,000 books.

Work is compulsory


Number and percentage of prisoners who work

11.1 % (2,288)

This number corresponds to the prisoners with paying jobs.

/ Prison Service, "Annual activity report 2019", p. 20 (in Romanian).

Variation in the number of prisoners who work


Between 2018 and 2019, there was an 11% decrease. The number of prisoners with paying jobs in 2018 was 2,573. The prison service attributed this to a decrease in the overall prison population.1

  1. Prison Service, “Annual activity report 2019”, p. 20 (in Romanian). 

All prisoners are allowed to work


Prisoners placed in maximum security units are not allowed to work outside their cells.1

  1. Articles 173 to 186, Prison Regulations (in Romanian). 

Labour as a punitive measure is prohibited


The prison service offers prisoners general work in the facilities: maintenance, agricultural activities or meal preparation.
It also offers companies the opportunity to employ prisoners. The work can be carried out on the outside, in prison workshops or in cells. The work primarily includes building construction and infrastructure, agriculture, forestry, metalwork, carpentry, landscaping, building and upkeep of hydraulic networks, manufacturing electronic components and packaging, handling, sewing and shoemaking.

A commission submits work proposals to the establishment director according to the detention regime and prisoner profiles. Prisoners must complete a medical visit before beginning their work.
Prisoners can ask to perform specific types of work depending on what is available and their qualifications. They can also work as volunteers.

Outside companies sign an agreement for every prisoner, with the facility acting as a contractor.

Maximum daily/weekly working hours are set, including at least one day of rest


Working prisoners have the right to weekly breaks. Work is limited to eight hours a day and 40 hours a week.

Prisoners are paid for their work

in most cases

Some prisoners doing general work are not paid. This is usually the case in pre-trial detention centres.
They are instead granted ‘privileges’, like longer visits or permission to leave the prison for a short time.

Salaries are

significantly below the national minimum wage

The net wages paid by the companies are comparable to salaries on the outside. The prison service takes 60% of what prisoners receive from their work. Prisoners are allowed to use 10% of their income during their confinement. The rest is put in an account in their name that they can access when they are released.

  • As of 1 January 2019, the cost per prisoner is $12.34 lei per hour for outside companies. In 2019, the prison service received 61 million lei, or 10 million euros, thanks to the work prisoners did.

    / (in Romania)

Their income is subject to social contributions


Companies hiring prisoners are exempt from making social contributions for these contracts.

Health and safety standards applicable outside are respected in prison


A prisoner that is the victim of a work accident can receive a disability pension.

Authority(ies) in charge of education and vocational training

  • Ministry of Education and Research
  • Ministry of Justice

Prisoners enrolled in educational training

9.7 % (2,001)
/ Prison Service, “Annual activity report 2019”, p. 27 (in Romanian).

The number of prisoners enrolled in primary and secondary education for the 2019/2020 academic year are 687 and 880, respectively. Those enrolled in post-secondary education or vocational training are 432 in number. Two prisoners are enrolled in university.
The prison system has a record of 31,375 prisoners who took part in one of the proposed educational programmes.

Education and professional training are managed by staff of the Ministry of Education and that of the prison services.

Education is provided

in all facilities

Prisoners who wish to enrol in a university course or in any other type of training offered outside the prison facility will require the authorisation of the prison director. Prisoners take distance learning courses and are solely responsible for the fees.

Education is available for all prisoners


Prisoners can resume or continue their education. Priority is given to the schooling of minors within the facility.

The prison service implements measures to fight illiteracy


Prisoners are allowed to pass diplomas and entry examinations


Obtaining a degree can lead to a reduced sentence.

Vocational training is provided


Vocational training is available for all prisoners


Opportunities for vocational training in prison are increasingly rare.

Distance courses are available


Prisoners are allowed to keep themselves informed regularly on public affairs


Prisoners have access to a television


Shared cells usually have at least one television.

Prisoners have access to a radio


Prisoners have access to the press


The prison service provides free newspapers for prisoners. Prisoners can subscribe to other newspapers at their own expense.

The prison service allows access to Internet


Prisoners can use computers and communicate via internet on the recommendation of an educational counsellor and with the consent of the prison director.

The facility prohibits posters, films or newspapers considered to be racist, xenophobic or pornographic.

Most prisoners are Orthodox Christians. Catholics, Protestants and Muslim prisoners are in the minority.

Prisoners are free to practice their religion and follow their beliefs


  • Three Jewish prisoners in Rahova prison are forced to practise their faith only in their cells, as no religious representatives and dedicated place of worship are available. They express having conflicts with their Christian co-prisoners. The NPM recommends that the prison service keep these three prisoners in the same cell.

    / People’s Advocate, Recommendation no. 148 of 4 August 2020

Dedicated places of worship are available

in most facilities

Most facilities have a chapel, which is typically Orthodox. It is often used for other worship rites.

There are chaplains in the prisons

depending on the type of worship rite

Orthodox priests officiate in most of the facilities. They usually allow other chaplains to use the chapel or their chaplaincy.
The prison service does not guarantee the availability of r from other faiths.

The prison service remunerates the chaplains

depending on the type of worship rite

Some facilities directly employ an Orthodox chaplain.

Individuals or organisations from the outside are allowed to participate in prison activities


Authorisations for external actors to take part in prison activities are provided by

  • the prison management body
  • the head of the facility

Organisations wishing to intervene in prison must sign a collaborative protocol with the prison service.1
The prison director gives authorisation to religious organisations and journalists to enter the prison premises.

  1. Article 123, Prison Regulations (in Romanian). 

Numerous non-government organisations have a protocol of collaboration with the prison service, especially for support programmes, prevention of suicide, assistance for drug-dependent people, etc.1

  1. Prison Service, “Presentation brochure of the penitentiary system”, p. 28 (in Romanian). 

NGOs working in the prison are not paid by the prison service.

Prisoners are allowed to make use of financial resources


Financial resources are accessible

in personal account

Prisoners can receive money from their loved ones through personal accounts. Money can be sent via bank orders or direct deposit. Prisoners can send money to their family members if justified in doing so and after approval by the prison director.1
Prisoners in open regimes are allowed to keep cash or bank cards with them.2

  1. Article 149, Prison Regulations (in Romanian). 

  2. Article 87, Ibid. 

Prisoners have the right to vote