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Prison system in Romania - statistics & facts

In 2020, Romania had a total of 43 penitentiary units, of these 33 prisons, six medical facilities, two juvenile educational centers and two juvenile detention centers. From a historical and political point of view, the prison system in Romania went through several changes over the last 50 years, with long term consequences. Firstly, close to the end of the communist regime in Romania, when political persecutions were mostly based on surveillance and intelligence rather than violence, several prisons and concentration camps were either destroyed or remained in ruins. This led to the problem of overcrowding in prisons which was poorly attempted to be solved by granting numerous pardons after the first democratic elections.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) impact

Due to extra private and governmental funds received by penitentiary units for the purchase of filter masks, waterproof overalls, visors, disinfectant and protective gloves, only 859 detainees and 1,254 prison staff were reported to have been infected with COVID-19 by December 2020. Another consequence of the pandemic outbreak was the restriction of working activities performed by detainees, inside and outside of prison areas. In spite of this, some penal units such as the penitentiaries from Arad and Timisoara, still recorded a revenue of over 3.5 million Romanian lei in 2020 as a result of labor activities.

Convictions at the European Court of Human Rights

In 2019, Romania had nearly eight thousand pending cases at the European Court of Human Rights, ranking fourth by number of cases after Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine. Of the total number of judgments delivered over the past years, most of them were related to the manner in which criminal investigations and trial proceedings were conducted, as well as overcrowding in prisons, specifically articles three, five and six of the European Convention on Human Rights. As a result, there were 462 violations of the right to a fair trial, 145 infringements on the lack of effective investigations, and 302 convictions on inhuman and degrading treatment. Subsequently, the Romanian government had to pay compensations worth approximately 3.3 million euros in 2018, due to ECtHR conclusions about prison conditions.

Convictions and offences

The number of prisoners convicted by final court decision in Romania peaked in 2013, at nearly 30,000 people, and decreased by approximately 40 percent by 2019. The number of people convicted for offences against the physical or psychological integrity of a person, violent crimes, as well as for crimes against property registered a significant drop since 2009. By contrast, there was a substantial increase in the number of convictions for offences against road traffic safety and corruption. As a consequence, currently most detainees are imprisoned in facilities of minimum and medium security.

Interesting statistics

In the following 8 chapters, you will quickly find the 46 most important statistics relating to "Prison system in Romania".


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