Romania Table of Contents
The PCR asserted that the socioeconomic change wrought under communist rule reduced crime committed against individuals and property. According to the PCR, the socialist system eliminated the root cause of lawlessness--economic inequality--and therefore crime was disappearing. Articles in the Romanian press, however, indicated that crime remained a significant, if not growing, problem in 1989. The phenomenon of economic crime was the byproduct of Romania's inefficient, overly centralized economy. Unrealistic prices and exchange rates led to widespread corruption, shortages, a black market, speculation, and hoarding. Although the 1978 Penal Code abolished the use of capital punishment against those convicted of economic crimes such as embezzlement or fraud, it stipulated heavy fines and criminal penalties, including a twoyear prison term, for failure to conserve resources in socialist industrial and agricultural enterprises. In 1987 courts sentenced 300 citizens for economic crimes or the "illegal acquisition of wealth" and confiscated goods worth 47,000,000 lei (for value of the leu--see Glossary). There were indications that apprehension of economic "criminals" was difficult and that a prosecutorial backlog of such cases existed in 1989.
After the 1988 amnesty, the minister of justice reported that there were 7,500 citizens in prison. There had been 75,000 citizens in jail prior to the amnesty. Although Romania released few statistics on crime, press reports indicated that juvenile crime was a particular problem. In 1981 the UTC revealed that 25,000 youths under the age of twenty-one had been convicted of various offenses.
Data as of July 1989