This paper examines from a historical perspective the meaning and the construction of the prisoner rehabilitation concept. In doing that the penal and the executional law is taken into consideration from the very beginning of 1874 onwards. Although the theoretical understanding of the rehabilitation concept is rather modern - a synergy between development of social and human capital with the expansion of the prosocial opportunities - it is surprising to notice that those three elements can be traced in each and every law of penal execution in Romania. Further more it seems that the law of 1874 has more elements of prisoner rehabilitation especially in terms of developing legitimate opportunities after release than the current law in place (Law no. 275/2006 on penal execution).
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