Reaction To The Detainees’ Protest

December 20, 2006 1:34 p.m.
The Society for Justice notes with concern the special scale of protests by detainees in Romanian prisons.

In relation to the protesters’ demands, SoJust warns first of all that public order must be respected and that the legislature – the only one entitled to adopt, according to the procedure prescribed by law, a normative act on pardon of punishments – cannot be subjected to any pressure.

SoJust notes the confusion in public opinion regarding the procedures prescribed by law for the adoption of a normative act aimed at pardoning punishments, confusion maintained by officials who in their public interventions inexplicably refer to the “decree” of pardon under development.

SoJust recognizes the reality of the problems expressed by the protesters regarding the conditions of detention: overcrowding of penitentiaries; the existence of spaces that do not correspond at all to the hygiene requirements, especially regarding the air cubage, the minimum surface and the ventilation; improper treatment of detainees.
The remedy of these shortcomings, through the active involvement of the state authorities, is absolutely necessary, only in this way the concrete purpose of the sanctions of deprivation of liberty can be achieved: the correction and social reintegration of the person.

SoJust considers that the recent Law no. 275/2006 for the execution of punishments corresponds to the European imperatives in the matter and represents the premise for the improvement of the conditions in the penitentiaries. We request that the Law Enforcement Regulation be adopted immediately, a Regulation that was to be adopted by the Government by decision within 10 days of the entry into force of the law (October 20, 2006).

Moreover, SoJust points out that such an adopted Regulation cannot provide for the jurisdictional activity of the judge delegated for the execution of sentences nor of the judge delegated to the criminal enforcement department once because the executive power cannot interfere in the organization and functioning of another constituted power. in the state and, secondly, because the only body empowered to establish the attributions of such a judge is the Superior Council of Magistracy (art. 139 letter c of Law no. 304/2004 on judicial organization). Normally, the legislator should have provided for such a regulation in charge of the Superior Council of Magistracy and for the judges delegated for the execution of sentences and in the compartment of criminal executions, precisely in order to give efficiency to the new attributions given by Law no. 275/2006 to the judge. The gap in the mentioned normative act is likely to prevent the professional fulfillment by the delegated judges of the legal obligations established by art. 6 of Law no. 275/2006.

The law is inefficient and ineffective due to the lack of implementation levers, consisting in: lack of necessary funding; improper management of funds intended for the construction of modern penitentiaries; lack of transparency at the level of penitentiary administrations in making decisions regarding detainees; the behavior of a significant number of officials from the penitentiary administration system, still not adapted to the special state they have, a status that imposes on them the obligation to respect the ethical values ​​stipulated in the statute of the profession: integrity, objectivity, transparency, receptivity and professional responsibility.

SoJust disapproves of any act of violence and calls on the competent authorities to take concrete and appropriate measures to ensure the minimum standards of detention imposed by European and national law.

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