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Update – Law 169 enforced: 529 released from penitentiaries, more than 1,000 expected to follow

The trade union federation with the Penitentiary National Administration (ANP) says hundreds of prisoners have been released on Thursday, following the coming into force of law 169 on compensatory measures for inmates serving the sentence in improper accommodation conditions. They say more than 1,000 are expected to be released soon. The trade unionists also claim that there is no regulation in regard to the law enforcement.

“The penitentiary directors have signed the administrative decisions to release about 300 inmates. In the coming period we estimate more than 1,000 prisoners will be presented for release following the enforcement of the law,” the ANP trade union informs.

The trade unionists are dissatisfied with the lack of a regulation for enforcing the law.

37 prisoners were released Thursday evening from Iasi penitentiary. Upon leaving the premises, the freshly released commented on the inhuman detention conditions and overcrowding.

According to realitatea.net no less than 529 prisoners were released on Thursday and 3,300 will be analysed by the committees in view of release.

The ANP trade unionists and Justice Minister Tudorel Toader have met Friday morning to discuss the situation.

“By 12 o’clock last night I received messages from Marian Dobrica (ANP Director – our note) to tell me the number of those released from jail. Based on the law, by adding the six days, 529 prisoners were released. It is a level much higher than I expected, I didn’t believe the impact would be so huge. It is according to the law,” Justice Minister Tudorel Toader said during the meeting with the ANP employees.

The minister said 3,349 inmates have acquired vocation to be released on parole. “The committees will be busy, I don’t believe any prisoner would ignore the situation,” the minister said, quoted by Realitatea TV.

Lawyer Cornelia Lalu has told Realitatea TV this situation is dangerous. “It is dangerous for the Romanian population. This is a disguised pardon, hundreds and even thousands of prisoners are getting out of jail, I don’t know where they would go, they have no home, no employment. Since October 19 we have hundreds of newly released on the streets in the cities, villages, they don’t know what to do and will certainly act unlawfully,” the lawyer said.

According to this specialist, the ECHR decision is not forcing Romania to release prisoners from jail overnight, as Minister Toader wants us to believe. “All the ministry had to do was to draw up a project with measures envisaged for the next several years to solve the situation in the penitentiaries,” she added.

Justice Minister Tudorel Toader announced on Wednesday, on his Facebook page, that the draft bill on justice laws has been completed and that priority is given to the conditions provided by the penitentiaries.

Toader has said the legislative decision on penitentiaries will be enforced as of Thursday, which grants 12 days reduced sentence to every 60 days in inappropriate conditions. Toader has also said that on Thursday the first inmates will be released according to the new decision.

“The draft bill is completed. We will attend all coming debates. (…) The committees with the penitentiaries are ready to enforce law 169/July 14, 2017 for amending and completion of law 254/2013 on serving the sentences. Article 55 provides ‘compensation if accommodation is inappropriate’. According to paragraph 1, in setting the sentence it is considered, regardless of the regime for serving the punishment, as compensatory measure, for each 30 days in inappropriate conditions, 6 days more will be considered as served,” the minister wrote.

About Valeriu Lazar