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January 27, 2023

Justice Minister Robert Cazanciuc: ‘Some prisons in Romania are below the limit of human dignity. We need EUR 1 bn to mend the situation’

Justice Minister Robert Cazanciuc said on Thursday the conditions in Romanian prisons are, in some cases, ‘below the limit of human dignity’ and that approximately EUR 1 bn would be needed to mend the situation, with steps having already been taken to access European funds for that purpose. The minister of justice was asked if he would accept Monica Iacob Ridzi’s invitation to visit Romanian prisons to see the detention conditions.

‘Unfortunately, many of the people who are now in difficult conditions for many year had the opportunity to do something for the system and, unfortunately, they did not. Today we realise that a prison is not a hotel. That’s true, a prison is not a hotel. The Romanian prison today very often is below the limit of human dignity. That’s true, but it’s not something new. This has been greatly the case after 1989. Do I know what Romanian prisons look like?… I’m not sure you know this, but, in 2005, I headed the prison system and I believe that I have seen almost all penitentiaries in Romania, I know what they look like. Unfortunately, almost nothing has changed since 2005’, Minister Cazanciuc said, according to Mediafax.

He noted that the financial resources for prisons were not enough and the only identified way to deal with the issue were the European funds.

‘The action initiated at the end of last year together with the Italian minister seems to be successful, it’s taking shape. There are seven EU states that support Romania and Italy’s common action to try to find European financing for our prison infrastructure. (…) The administration does what it can with a budget that keeps growing by the yea, not with much, that’s true, but with itemised solutions’, the minister of justice added.

The official also said that in the previous three years the total number of prisoners, approximately 30,000 persons – had not grown.


Ombudsman checks all detention and preventive remand facilities in the country


The Ombudsman is checking all the detention and remand facilities in the country, looking at the detention conditions relative to the observance of human rights. The institution announced its decision the day after the beginning of the inspection at the Gherla Prison in Monica Ridzi’s case.

The institution took note and commenced an investigation at the Cluj exterior department of the Gherla Penitentiary and Jilava Prison Hospital to determine if Monica Iacob Ridzi’s rights had been violated.

The Ombudsman will propose, in the report it will write, legislative solutions or of a different nature for the improvement of the system used for depriving individuals of freedom under decision of an authority. The probe was initiated after press reports on the detention conditions of Monica Iacob Ridzi, ex-Minister of Youth and Sport, in Gherla Prison and how she had been transported from there to the Jilava Prison Hospital.


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