New law releases thousands of inmates in Romania

Almost 530 inmates were released on Thursday, October 19, after a new law that provides a 6-day sentence reduction for each 30 days a detainee spends in improper conditions came into force.

Moreover, over 3,300 detainees have the right to benefit from early release based on this law, justice minister Tudorel Toader said on Friday, reports local News.ro. The minister also said that the number of inmates released on Thursday was quite big, exceeding his expectations, as he didn’t thought that “the impact would be so great.”

The law applies to all inmates, regardless of the crimes for which they were sent to prison.

According to the minister, some prisons had problems implementing the new law, as they didn’t know if the early release requests were to be analyzed by judges or by the prison administration.

The Federation of Trade Unions in the National Administration of Penitentiaries (ANP) complained about the lack of an enforcement regulation for this law, reports local Mediafax.

“The law is applied under the responsibility of prison directors who, together with the penitentiary specialists involved in this process, take on the risk of incorrect releases to avoid illegal detention. […] The way of calculating these 6 days considered executed is uncertain, the release procedure is unclear, there are errors in the sentence execution records, and the staff that manages this process is insufficient,” the Federation said.

The new law came into force as the Romanian Justice Ministry is trying to solve the overcrowding problem of local prisons as requested by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). The Ministry also plans to implement other measures, such as the revamping of some prisons and the construction of two other prisons.

Draft law amending Romania’s justice laws goes to Parliament

New prisons to accommodate overcrowded inmates would cost Romania more than EUR 1 billion

ECHR: Detention conditions in Romanian prisons are in breach of European Convention of Human Rights

Irina Marica, [email protected]

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