The Director General of the National Administration of Penitentiaries (ANP), Marius Vulpe says that the Romanian state was forced to pay damages worth 1.6 million euro in 2016, after losing at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) the lawsuits initiated by prisoners, stressing that the total amount, from 1990 until now, is worth over 3.1 million euro.
“The total amount since 1990 is 3,132 million euro and 10,000 Swiss francs. (…) The amount is not big when compared to the one allocated to build a prison, but it is worrying that, out of this total amount, in these 26 to 27 years, just 1,600,000 euro are last year’s fines. Therefore, it grows from year to year, and it is worrisome, both in the amount and the number of cases,” said Vulpe, in an interview for Agerpres.
He explained that last year Romania underwent 313 convictions at ECHR for the detention conditions, adding that there is no penitentiary that does not have a lost case.
“In 2015 there were 75 such convictions, in 2014 – 29, in 2013 – 32 and in 2012 – 10. (…) There is no penitentiary in Romania that does not have a lost case at ECHR. From what I know, Galati Penitentiary and Jilava Prison have lost most cases,” specified Vulpe.
The head of ANP also said that the fines can be explained by prisons’ overcrowding, but also by the fact that the inmates acumen has increased.
“The intelligence quotient of the prisoners who are in prisons’ custody has increased, people know to read their rights (…) People know to ask for their rights, on the one hand, and on the other hand the Romanian state violates the laws in the criminal execution domain,” he noted, adding that the deficit in prisons is of 8,500 places, and according to regulations, a prisoner is assigned four square meters.
“It is beneficial for the youth to be promoted to leadership positions”
Vulpe also stated in an interview for Agerpres that it is beneficial for an echelon of young officers to be able to get promoted to leadership positions, showing that ANP staff shortages is about 20 pct.
“There are people employed in the 90s, who have accumulated 20-27-30 years of service. They meet the retirement requirements and then they wish to retire to continue their lives. I say that it is beneficial for the prison system for a new echelon of young officers to be promoted to leadership positions and to continue the reform of the prison system. (…) Unfortunately, we find ourselves in the situation where the elderly executives who meet the retirement conditions, without announcing or meeting the minimal conditions, unexpectedly apply for retirement and then we are obliged to find a temporary solution by proxy,” explained Vulpe.
He also said that 80 pct of staff employed in the prison system is hired on the provided positions, but that the 15,000 jobs in the personnel files of ANP are not realistic.
”The staff shortage is at around 20 pct. Today, when we speak, 80 pct of the prison system staff is hired on the positions that we have planned, but the 15,000 jobs we have in the personnel files of the Administration are not realistic. This figure is exceeded by the need. (…) The prison system’s need is somewhere around 20,000 employees, but strictly on what we have now, provided by government decision, we have 15,000 positions,” the ANP chief added.