Murderers and rapists released early from Romanian prisons under new parole law

Murderers and rapists are among hundreds of prisoners who have been released early from Romania’s prisons this year under a new parole law.

Of the almost 700 who secured early release in the first six months of  the year, 273 were in prison for murder and 144 were behind bars for rape, Romania’s National Penitentiaries Administration said in a statement.

Commentators said the development was alarming particularly after Parliament overturned a contentious parole law in December 2019 which saw thousands of detainees freed before completing their sentences. Hundreds re-offended.

Parliament voted to overturn the new law, which came into effect in January and allowed inmates to be released if they have served at least two-thirds of their sentence or three-fourths of a sentence greater than 10 years.

Lawmakers voted on June 17 to exclude murderers, rapists pedophile and armed robbers from the new law after an ex-convict who was jailed for committing five murders set a teenager on fire after he was released early. However, Supreme Court has contested the June bill and the current law stands.

Under existing legislation, prisoners qualify for parole if they have shown good behavior and if they remain under some level of surveillance when they have left prison, such as communicating where they work, report to probation service or informing authorities when they change their address or leave home for more than five days.  

Some 21,000 inmates were granted early release since the parole law was changed in 2017. Some 500 were rearrested for violent crimes and sent back to prison, causing public outrage.

Under that law, prisoners got early release if their cells were too hot or too cold, were too small or had damp on the walls. Some 7,000 were individuals convicted of murder, rape, robbery and pedophilia.


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