Romania spends EUR 500 per inmate each month, while number of prisoners grows steadily

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Romania has over 31,800 inmates in its prisons, and the number has been growing since 2008. Over 5,000 new inmates were added in the last five years to Romania’s prison system. Out of the total, there are 175 foreigners, mostly Turkish – 35, Moldavians – 26 and Bulgarians – 11, according to a recent report from the National Prison Administration. Half of the total inmates are serving jail sentences of one to five years, around a third, between 5 and 15 years, while only 150 people are serving life sentences.

The state spends around RON 417 on an inmate every month – the equivalent of some EUR 92. The state also pays RON 77 per month for each inmate to cover their social securities- an extra EUR 17, according to Romania’s National Prison Administration. So in total, the Romanian state pays around EUR 41 million a year to support these people in prison.

The number however does not include the staffing costs for prisons, which takes the inmate spend to some RON 2,200 a month, or some EUR 500. This brings the total costs to run the prison system to some EUR 190 million every year. The National Prison Administration employs 12,400 staff and its 2012 budget was of around EUR 200 million.

Some inmates work while being imprisoned, but the return on their work while in prison only covers a fraction of the costs they cause. Last year, the inmates’ work was valued at some EUR 6.7 million, the highest in the last ten years. Out of this amount, 60 percent went to the Prison Administration – some EUR 4 million, covering only some 2 percent of the system costs. The inmates got 24 percent, and 16 percent was paid as income tax. Inmates can keep the money they make while working in prison in two types of accounts, one they can use after they are freed, and another one which allows them to spend funds on phone calls and on products bought from the prison shop.

Last year, some 8,000 inmates were selected for various activities, and around 3,000 of them had service contracts.

The number of medical checkups per person per year seems to be higher in the prison system than outside it, with an average of 26.4 consults for each inmate last year. The high number of visits to the doctor could be explained by the inmates’ urges to spend more time outside their prison cells.

Around half of those who currently spend time behind bars in Romania are repeat offenders, who had jail time in the past too – 45.7 percent. Most of the inmates have definitive sentences, while some 3,100 are preventive arrests, and 165 are underage children in re-education centers.

Around one third of the inmates are between 22 and 30, while a second third between 31 and 40. Some 7,500 people in prison are between 41 and 60, while the smallest age groups are 18 to 21, with only 1,600 inmates, 14 to 18 – some 444 people and over 60, just 528 inmates.

The crimes that brought them jail time vary: the biggest group, around half of them, spent time in jail for theft, while some 7,500 got jail time for offenses against other people. Sexual crimes sent 2,000 of the existing inmates to jail, while 1,400 are currently serving time for trafficking and using drugs. Another 1,200 are in jail after car accidents , while some 600 for online trade offenses. Organized crime accounts for 540 inmates. One of the smallest groups comprises inmates serving jail time for corruption – 62.

The system offers professional training classes, with over 4,000 prisoners getting schooled as PC operators, carpenters, masons, as well as photographers in 2012. Another 2,600 go to school, around 1,000 to primary school, 1,200 to middle school, 395 attend high school classes, and only five attend university.

Romania’s prison system has 21 units for preventive arrest, 15 closed and maximum security prisons, 16 prisons with open and semi-open regime, two prisons for minors and one for women.

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