Penitentiary trade unions slam JusMin proposal on compensations for improper detention conditions: Victims should be compensated, not inmates

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Justice minister’s new proposal to table a bill through which former inmates who were imprisoned in improper conditions during June 2012-October 2017 should benefit of compensation mounting to EUR 5-8 for each detention day have stirred discontents even among the trade unionists from the penitentiary system.

In a press release entitled “The victims of the crimes should be compensated, not the inmates”, the trade unionists representing the prison staff slammed the draft proposal, tabling their own amendments.

They suggest the payment of these compensations should be done for all inmates who had been imprisoned in improper conditions, ‘if the purpose of this draft is to repair an injustice.’ “These conditions have been undoubtedly improper not only during 2012-2017,” the trade unionists argue.

The trade unions also ask that the employees of the penitentiaries should also be compensated for every day of working in improper conditions. “If the situation is so serious, we consider that all those who lived and worked under these circumstances must be compensated”.

The representatives of the penitentiary staff further told Justice minister that compensations should be also paid to the victims of the crimes committed by the inmates, in an equal share with the compensation paid to the offender. “If the Romanian state can afford awarding thieves, robbers, corrupt people or murders, we consider it also must pay compensations to the victims or to the families of the victims for the endured suffering,” says the Federation of the Trade Unions of the National Penitentiary Administration.

The federation added that, according to their estimates, for an average time of four years served in prison, the former inmates would receive sums ranging from EUR 8,000 to EUR 12,000, according to figures advanced by the Justice minister. “A prize that the Romanian tax payer would not dream of, although, if the criteria of the compensatory appeal law were enforced in Romania, we would find out that we all live in an improper country,” says the trade union’s release.

Moreover, the penitentiary staff accused the Justice minister that he is falsifying the truth by pretending ECHR compels Romania to take such action. “A statement as false as the previous one, who has been long rumored, related to an alleged fine of EUR 80 million. In fact, ECHR compels us to take actions to modernize the penitentiary system and does not impose either disguised pardons or awards for criminals,” the press release concludes.

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