Justice Minister Pruna on penitentiaries’ annual report: probation staff is top priority

Justice Minister Raluca Pruna summarized on Thursday the status of Romania’s prison system: 12,500 employees of the National Administration of Penitentiaries (ANP) are in charge of 28,000 inmates, while 335 officers of the National Probation Directorate (DNP) deal with 42,000 people released on parole, in an unprecedented reverse of penalty figures last year.

“I have promised to the DNP staff and I hereby make a public statement: for me, it’s top priority to open more positions [at the DNP],” Pruna said on the presentation of the ANP and DNP reports for 2015. She promised to ask the Government to expand the probation system, within the budget resources.

Poor conditions in penitentiaries require a firm governmental policy, the minister insisted, acknowledging recent decisions against Romania at the European Court of Human Rights; there were 32 such rulings in 2013, 29 in 2014, and 75 in 2015, she mentioned. The Government has passed a memorandum three weeks ago to petition the ECHR for a limited postponement of a pilot sentence on jail conditions, and promised to submit within two months a precise schedule for realistic remediation measures with appropriate financing, Pruna added.

“The purpose of our work is the serving of penalties decided by judges, with the convicted individuals paying their debt to the society; nevertheless, I insist that the society also owes the convicted decent conditions for serving their penalties and returning within the society, as the ultimate goal of these approaches is the return and reintegration into the society,” she concluded.

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