Minister of Justice Robert Cazanciuc said on Friday in Constanta that building new penitentiaries to plug the current jail capacity shortage of about 11,000 inmates requires investments of approximately one billion euros.
According to Cazanciuc, the development of such a project with funding from the national budget or European resources requires the organization of public debates to determine whether the Romanian society is ready for that.
“We must be realistic and see if at this moment the Romanian society is ready to invest in the next 3-5 years, start an investment program of one billion euros. For this is the real need, 1 billion euros to build several penitentiaries to cover the current shortage of 10,000 to 11,000 inmates. This means new prisons, plus investments in the old ones, to try to bring them, so to say, to the limit of human dignity,” Robert Cazanciuc told a press conference.
Cazanciuc mentioned that he and Italy’s Minister of Justice kicked off last year an initiative to find European funds to invest in prisons.
“Together with the Italian Minister of Justice I started as early as last year an initiative to find European funds for penitentiary infrastructure as a form of support for those who may be socially reintegrated. Several European countries have joined this, let’s call it, Romanian-Italian initiative. Why Romania and Italy? Because we have the most ECHR convictions for lack of decent jail conditions. We are not in the situation of other countries such as the Netherlands (…) which has spare places, or of Spain that closed all penitentiaries after Franco’s dictatorship and said ‘no one should ever experience what we’ve been through’ and invested tens of billions in the rehabilitation of the system’s infrastructure,” said Robert Cazanciuc quoted by Agerpres.