In 2017, Romania paid EUR 2,296,451 for not complying with the material detention conditions, as a result of the conviction decisions of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), according to the last year’s report of the National Administration of the Penitentiaries (ANP). The number is significantly higher compared to the previous year (EUR 1,624,670).
There is also an upward trend regarding the paid amounts, since our country paid in 2015EUR 459,275, while in 2014 it paid EUR 196,400. Until December 31, 2017, Romania paid a total amount of EUR 5,428,880 and 10,000 Swiss Francs as a result of the ECHR decisions.
Referring to the conviction resolutions and decisions issued by ECHR, the ANP report mentions that there were 378 ruled decisions in 2017, compared to 313 decisions in 2016.
“The imprisoned population in the custody of the units that are subordinated to the National Administration of the Penitentiaries has recorded in the recent years a downward trend. (…) Therefore, the shortage of accommodation seats in the penitentiary system decreased from 8,384 places to 4,335 places of detention, related to a minimum space of 4 sqm for each detainee. While in 2016, 672 new detention places have been made, the infrastructure investment process continued in 2017 by finalizing 170 new detention places at the Giurgiu Penitentiary, and modernization works have been carried out for 200 accommodation places at the Bacau Penitentiary through the Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2009-2014” the document reads.
Over 10,000 conditionally released persons in 2017 and fewer deaths
More than 10,000 detainees have been conditionally released from the Romanian penitentiaries in 2017, the month of November being on the top of the ranking; they benefited from the compensatory remedy entered into force at that time, the ANP report for 2017 reads.
10,554 detainees have been conditionally released from the Romanian penitentiaries in 2017, the month of November being on the top of the ranking, with 1,894 released persons; many of them benefited from the conditions of the compensatory remedy entered into force at that time, the last year’s report of the National Administration of the Penitentiaries (ANP) reads.
Also, 1787 detainees have been released after executing their sentence, and 23,450 people were detained in the Romanian penitentiaries in December. Of the total imprisoned population, 38.37% is the percentage of recidivists. Most of the detainees have been imprisoned for crimes against the person (9,259 detainees), followed by those who have been convicted for deeds against the patrimony (8,972 detainees).
Foreign citizens are also executing their sentence in the Romanian penitentiaries, most of them being Turkish, Moldovan and Bulgarian citizens.
As for the deaths, the document issued by the National Administration of the Penitentiaries mentions that 91 deaths have been registered in 2017, 7 deaths less than in the previous year. The broken down numbers are as follows: 9 suicide deaths (8 deaths by hanging, one self-harm), 31 deaths due to cardiovascular diseases, 22 due to neoplastic diseases, 9 due to HIV/AIDS infections, 7 due to neurological diseases, 3 due to digestive diseases, 3 due to other reasons.
“Compared to the previous year, there has been recorded an increase in mortality due to cardiovascular diseases, which became the main cause of the death of the persons in the custody of the penitentiary system. The number of deaths due to neoplastic and neurological diseases has decreased, while the number of deaths caused by HIV/AIDS infections has increased” the report states.
Regarding the age categories of the detainees, the ANP report mentions that most of them are aged between 31 and 40 years (7,523 persons), followed by those aged between 41 and 60 years (7,338 persons). 826 people in the units are more than 60 years old.
The same document mentions that last year, the employees of the penitentiaries discovered more mobile phones than in the previous one: 2,912 mobile phones, compared to 2,569 in 2016.
Statistics indicates an increase of the number of aggressions against the ANP employees: 95 aggressions in 2017, compared to 71 in the previous year.
JusMin Toader: National Penitentiary Administration to calculate how many inmates stayed in inadequate conditions
The National Penitentiary Administration (ANP) will calculate how many inmates have stayed in inadequate conditions, and then the amount of money to be offered in this case will be decided so that the financial impact should not be too high, Justice Minister Tudorel Toader said on Wednesday.
“We have the ECHR requirement, the examples of other states, Hungary, Italy, which paid even 5 euros per day of inappropriate detention. I cannot say the amount, because I do not decide it myself. The ANP will do a calculation starting with 2012 when the semi-pilot decision was given, it will see how many inmates have stayed in inappropriate conditions, we will see how many we will have to give damages to, what will be the total number of days, and then we will set the amount. When we have set the total number of days of inappropriate conditions, then we see the impact and the amount of damages,” Toader said on Wednesday at the presentation by the ANP and the Probation Directorate of their activity reports for 2017.
He stressed that the draft law on granting damages is not a “Romanian invention” and that the pilot-decision of the ECHR refers to granting them.
At the same time, he referred to a project aimed at building an archive at each court of appeal. The project will be funded by the World Bank.
“Thus, who needs a document – we have to keep it 90 years by law – goes to the archive, which is modern, it will ensure the conditions of keeping, the citizen has access to the service of receiving a copy. At the same time, the premises of the courts and prosecutor’s offices, which are suffocated today by archive documents, will be cleared and used for other purposes, including a desk for probation counselors,” added Toader.
Justice Ministry is working on the draft law regarding the electronic surveillance of the detainees; the detainee who doesn’t recharge his bracelet is committing an offense
Justice Minister Tudorel Toader stated on Wednesday that a team of specialists is working on the draft law regarding the electronic surveillance of the detainees to execute their sentence at home, wearing special bracelets. The draft will introduce a new offense, namely the escape from the electronic surveillance, which can be committed by the detainees who will not recharge the special bracelet battery.
Being present at the 2017 report of the National Administration of the Penitentiaries, Justice Minister Tudorel Toader said that today “the conditions are not the desired ones” in the penitentiaries, but the direction is the one of ensuring higher standards and proper conditions for both of the parties, namely both for those in custody and for the public servants with a special status.
“Of course there are many things to be done, of course the problem of the improper detention, of the penitentiary environment, hasn’t appeared yesterday or the day before yesterday, or the last year, it’s an almost historical problem, a problem of the system, as stated by ECHR, too, with 9,900 pending cases, complaints from Romania, of which more than 90 percent refer exactly to these improper conditions” Tudorel Toader stated.
Speaking about the future projects, Toader announced that a group of specialists from the Ministry is working on the draft law regarding the electronic surveillance of the detainees, with the help of a n electronic bracelet.
“The measure will decongest the penitentiary system, in case of total or partial execution of the sentence under electronic surveillance (…) We have studied the legal issues, the technical issues, the procurement issues and the issues related to the functioning of the surveillance system. We believe that legal, criminal changes will be required, because we cannot introduce the measure if we do not provide it in the general part of the Code, in the criminal procedure” Toader stated.
The Minister mentioned that one of the draft’s provisions will refer to the obligation of the detainee to recharge the battery of his bracelet on time.
“Somebody coming from a country where this system works told me: ‘Be careful not to forget to include in the draft law what we forgot: the bracelet has a battery which connects to a socket, if you don’t recharge it, the surveillance doesn’t work anymore’. If the obligation to recharge the battery is not provided by the law in order for the detainee to continue to be surveilled, there is no legal ground to sanction him. That person told me that they amended the law , saying that the deed of not recharging the bracelet, the battery, is an escape from the electronic surveillance, it’s an offense itself, and no the surveilled persons are careful to recharge their bracelet, the battery” the Minister said.
Tudorel Toader didn’t mention when the draft law is going to be finalized, or when the system could be implemented in Romania.