Romanian National Folklore Festival for inmates

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September 2018 – by Pompilia Mănoiu from the National Administration of Penitentiaries, Romania

On 14 September 2018, the gates of the National Village Museum „Dimitrie Gusti” from Bucharest opened up to host the 4th edition of the National Folklore Festival for Inmates, a new project initiated by the National Administration of Penitentiaries.


In a pleasant fall atmosphere, 21 units from the Romanian penitentiary system participated in this outdoor event. The festival had three sections: Romanian traditional dances, traditional music and an exhibit of handmade objects made by inmates within the occupational workshops.


In front of the viewers, the deprived of liberty persons from eight penitentiaries, a detention centre and an educative centre, presented artistic moments of real quality, prepared and coordinated by specialists from the penitentiary system and also by the partners from the community, who accepted, as volunteers, to work with inmates.

The purpose of this action was, in equal measure, to exploit the artistic inclinations of detained persons in order to increase their chances of social reintegration after executing custodial sentences, as well as presenting detention activities to emphasise the extremely important role of the local communities’ involvement in the recovery of these persons.

So, approximatively 90 detained persons, sang traditional music and danced traditional dances, in an attempt to reconnect with the traditions and folk customs. The light in which the event was unveiled was like a show, full of emotion and the will to prove in a few minutes all the things they previously learned. The performance of the inmates showed great pleasure to be present in front of the museums visitors and guests.

The unanimous opinion of those who were present at this festival was one of great appreciation of the efforts that were carried out by the Romanian penitentiary system for the reintegration of the detained persons, for some periods of time.