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JusMin order amends minimum compulsory detention conditions across Romanian prisons

Minimum compulsory detention conditions have changed in Romania, after the Justice minister signed an order last week, which amends the basic conditions of the prisoners. According to the new order, cells must be equipped with interphones, heat and water regulators for the shower, while rooms must be minimum 2.5-meter high.

The order has been issued by Justice Minister Tudorel Toader on October 17 and was published in the Official Gazette on October 18.

The document, which recalled an order signed by former secretary of state in the Justice Ministry, Alina Bica in 2010, entails the minimum compulsory norms that the prison cells should have. Any exception from these rules might prompt a cut in the inmates’ jail time.

According to the new rules, the toilets must be separated from the cells, cells must have from one to four plugs, TV plug, radio terminal and interphone. The new or the rehabilitated detention rooms should have “at least 2.5m high (form floor to ceiling).

The new or the revamped hospital wards in the penitentiaries must have a maximum capacity of six beds and an area of at least 7 square meters/per inmate. The nightlight must not disturb the prisoners’ sleep.

The European Court of Human Rights has warned in April this year that detention conditions in Romanian prisons are in breach of the European human rights laws, while pointing to a “structural deficiency.”

So, the European court in Strasbourg gave national authorities a six month deadline to provide “a precise timetable for the implementation of the general measures.

The ECHR ruling was given following the complaints filed by Romanian applicants Daniel Arpad Rezmiveş, Marius Mavroian, Laviniu Moşmonea and Iosif Gazsi, who sued the Romanian state over improper imprisonment conditions.

Rezmiveş, Moşmonea and Gazsi who are currently detained in Timişoara, Pelendava and Baia Mare Prisons, and Mavroian, who was detained in Focşani Prison and was released on 13 January 2015, complained in particular about overcrowding, lack of space and poor hygiene conditions in their cells (presence of rats, mould on the walls, and so on), inadequate access to showers and toilets, a lack of natural light, poor ventilation, and the unsatisfactory quality of the equipment and food provided in the prisons in which they had been or were still detained.

About Alina Grigoras Butu