On Thursday, the prison revolt had spread to 19 penitentiaries, convicts choosing various forms of protest against prison conditions. In some penitentiaries, convicts protested by going on hunger strike, in others however they resorted to burning their mattresses and other pieces of fabric, throwing bottles at prison staff and banging on their prison cell bars. According to Mediafax, a convict tried to kill himself at the Bistrita Penitentiary on Thursday morning.
The National Penitentiary Administration (ANP) announced that there were protests in 19 penitentiaries on Thursday, in contrast to 12 on Wednesday evening and 8 on Wednesday at noon. Protests were taking place at the penitentiaries in Iasi, Poarta Alba, Botosani, Oradea, Miercurea Ciuc, Giurgiu, Vaslui, Bucharest-Jilava, Tulcea, Bistrita, Deva, Aiud, Bacau, Margineni, Arad and Targu Mures.
In some cases, although ANP representatives claimed that there were no riots, convicts could be seen setting fire to pieces of fabric or throwing bottles at prison staff. Such cases took place at the penitentiaries in Bistria and Botosani. In Margineni, convicts set fire to mattresses and threw small-sized objects at prison staff. ANP claims there were no victims during the protests. Violent protests were registered in Tulcea where the support of Interior Ministry forces was requested.
According to Mediafax, convicts detained at the Vaslui Penitentiary went to their cell windows and shouted slogans such as: “Down with Pruna!”, “Down with the government!” “They’re not giving us our visits, our rations, our rights,” “We are treated like dogs.”
Justice Minister: I have to work with ANP
On Thursday morning, the Justice Minister stated that, given the current situation, replacing the leadership of the National Penitentiary Administration (ANP) would serve no one, pointing out however that she is dissatisfied and that she is seriously assessing the managerial performance in this case.
“I said it before, I’m not satisfied, we have some rules in this country, I have to work with this institution and I believe it is further to the interest of the persons convicted – because we are of course making ratings here, but the primary interest is that of the persons convicted, of the victims we forget about but also of society as a whole – for the Justice Ministry, for the Minister, to work with ANP,” Raluca Pruna said.
On Wednesday, against the backdrop of penitentiary protests, Raluca Pruna stated that she would not adopt measures under pressure from convicts: “Since we’ve already waited 20 years, we’ll wait another 2 months,” she said.
Justice Minister Raluca Pruna had asked the ANP Director to resign since December. According to the law, the ANP Director can only be replaced under very strict conditions.
Alina Gorghiu: I would have sacked the ANP Director
PNL Co-President Alina Gorghiu stated on Thursday that Raluca Pruna will not be PNL’s nomination for the Justice Ministry after the parliamentary elections if the Liberals get to form the government.
“We will have a minister backed by PNL. I’m already thinking about two or three names. Ms. Pruna is not among them. Not that I have something against her, but I have other options, proposals made by the party but I have the right to some ideas too. The person who will manage the Romanian penitentiaries will matter a lot too,” Gorghiu said on DC News.
She pointed out that she would have sacked the ANP Director a long time ago because of the prison conditions, and that she expects the Justice Minister to adopt a firmer stance.
“I’ve been hearing about the situation there for a very long time, about the bribes taken, (…) however not much will be resolved unless the authorities conduct real controls, seriously respond to notifications, reduce some of the corruption in penitentiaries,” the PNL leader said.
Gorghiu claimed that during her first tenure as lawmaker she really wanted to be the head of ANP.