This paper aims to analyze the legal, social and political dimensions of overcrowding in Romanian prisons. The main objective of the research is to examine the dynamics of overcrowding and the conditions of detention in Romanian prisons in the period 1990–2017, in relation to the (gradual or sudden) changes in the criminal policies. The main research outcome (based on statistical and legislative analyzes) captures that sudden changes in criminal policies do not contribute significantly to reducing overcrowding.

Keywords: overcrowding, detention conditions, prisons, criminal policies, compensatory measures.

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