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Incidence and Characteristics of Rroma Men in Romanian Prisons

NCJ Number
Howard Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 41 Issue: 3 Dated: July 2002 Pages: 237-244
Ioan Durnescu; Cristian Lazar; Roger Shaw
Date Published
July 2002
8 pages
This study presented the characteristics of inmates in Romanian prisons.
Romania has the largest Rroma population in Europe. The ethnic group “Roma” or Gypsy uses the term “Rroma.” In the last 10 years certain characteristics of this population have been identified, such as a low educational level, few marketable social skills, different norms to the host nation, and a lower standard of living than the majority one. The public’s perception is that Rroma are prolific offenders who are often involved in an underground culture of crime. The aims of this research are to identify the number of Rroma males in Romanian prisons, identify the culture of this population, and identify solutions for the social inclusion of Rroma ex-inmates in the community. Information was gathered through the use of a questionnaire. Four hundred and nine subjects were selected at random and interviewed. Adult inmates within Romanian prisons included 75 percent Romanian, 17 percent Rroma, and 7 percent Hungarian, Turkish, and others. Juvenile inmates were 51 percent Romanian, 39 percent Rroma, and 9 percent Hungarian, Turkish, and other. Twenty-four percent of Rroma inmates were unemployed at the time of their imprisonment; 22 percent had specific gypsy jobs that generated a very low income. More than 20 percent of Rroma inmates’ fathers had no education. There was some increase in the percentage of Rroma inmates that had completed 9 to 12 grades. Knowledge of the Romany language may be considered an essential element in the affiliation to the Rroma culture, but a significant proportion of Rroma inmates did not speak the Romany language. Sixty percent of the Rroma inmates were serving their second prison sentence. The number of Rroma returning to prison was twice that of Romanians. There were no major differences between Rroma and Romanians in respect to the offenses for which they were imprisoned: about 60 percent for theft, 10 percent for robbery, 2 percent for fraud, 2.5 percent for rape, 20 percent for murder and beatings causing death, and 9 percent for other offenses. The educational and social inclusion issues demonstrated by this study need to be addressed by the European Union member states, including Romania. 16 references


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