Thousands of prisoners in Romania could get out of jail earlier due to overcrowding

Romanian minister of justice Raluca Pruna wants to simplify the way prisoners can be released on parole, to solve the problem of prison overcrowding.

Thus, thousands of prisoners could get out of jail earlier. However, they will still have to meet some criteria, the minister said at local TV station Digi24.

“We’re talking about thousands of people. Yes, more people will get out, but not on any terms. To get released on parole, they’ll have to do a fraction of the sentence, and have a behavior that shows that they’ve become better persons,” the minister said.

She insisted this was not a form of amnesty. The minister wants to find out what are the reasons for which, in some cases, the release on parole is being delayed.

There could be other solutions to solve the prison overcrowding in Romania, but they are currently too expensive for the state budget, the minister also said. The prison system would need 10,000 new detention spaces, which would require over EUR 1 billion worth of investments.

Turning former barracks into new detention spaces would also be very costly.

UN torture prevention experts visited Romanian prisons earlier this year. After the visit, the experts said that Romania made progress in improving conditions of detention, but pointed out that the country still needed to reduce overcrowding in prisons and other places where people are deprived of their liberty.

Inmates from several Romanian prisons also protested this summer against the detention conditions.

Irina Popescu,