Penitentiary trade union: Pardon won’t solve the prison overcrowding

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The prison overcrowding issue will not be solved by the pardon law, as 70 per cent of the potential beneficiaries of the pardon will get back in jail in the first year after their release. Among the prisoners to be released there will probably not be any politicians and businessmen “who are intensively promoting this measure”, says the Omnia Trade Union within the National Penitentiary Administration.

The trade union says that 8,500 accommodation seats and the improvement of the detention conditions are needed to solve the prison overcrowding.

Pardoning an average number of nine prisoners from each penitentiary has no effect whatsoever on improving the penitentiary conditions considering the Government has done nothing to directly solve this problem. No major modernization work hasn’t been kicked off,” says the trade union.

According to the trade unionists from penitentiaries, 8,500 seats are needed, a standard of 4sqm per prisoner, as well as the improvement of the detention and working conditions. “Out of those 1,032 potential beneficiaries (433 would get out of prison, 589 would benefit of a jail time cut by 3 years, nine minors and a 70yo person), 70 per cent will get back in prison in the first year. Much earlier than a part of a building would be repaired,” said Sorin Dumitrascu, president of the Omnia Trade Union.

He also pointed out that over 900 inmates are released on parole every month, with almost the same number being imprisoned on a monthly basis, with the number of the inmates repatriated from the EU countries being on the rise, climbing to 70-80 per cent per month.

The Senate’s plenary sitting has decided on Monday to send back the pardon bill to the legal committee so that it could be adopted in the form sent by the Government on January 31.

The PSD-ALDE ruling coalition, and especially the Social Democrat chairman Liviu Dragnea, announced they don’t endorse the pardon bill in the form amended by the legal committee. In retort, Liberal senator Alina Gorghiu accused that Dragnea had requested for the pardon bill to be adopted in the Executive’s form as the initial content stipulates the pardon of the people sentenced for electoral crimes and of those sentenced on probation, as it is the case of the PSD chairman, sentenced to two years on probation for defrauding the 2012 referendum.

However, Dragnea has been convicted based on the law 78/2000 for preventing and sanctioning corruption deeds, while the Executive’s form of the pardon bill says that all crimes entailed in this law will not be pardoned.

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