Italy prison overcrowding emergency
Jan 26, 2010
from the article in Corrections Reporter:
The Italian government on Wednesday declared a state of emergency in the country’s prisons and launched a four-point plan to tackle the overcrowding, ANSA news agency reported.
Talking at a press conference attended as well by Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, the Justice Minister Angelino Alfano said “the plan is without precedent in the history of this Republic.”
“We’re going to eliminate prison overcrowding once and for all without resorting to another round of amnesties,” he added, which would empty prisons by pouring criminals in the society.
Alfano announced that first on the agenda was the construction of 47 new jail annexes to boost the system’s capacity by 21,749 units.
The new cell blocks would cost a total 600 million euros....
....To depressurize jails in the meantime, the justice minister promised new legislation allowing home detention for inmates with less than one year to serve on their sentence and probation with community service for anyone sentenced to less than three.
Finally, he promised to hire some 2,000 new guards needed to oversee Italy’s swelling prison population, which hit a post-war high last year of over 65,000 detainees.
Italy’s aging jails, most of which built in the 19th century, were designed to accommodate just 43,000 prisoners.
Experts have blamed the overcrowding for a record 71 prison suicides in 2009 and another four in the first week of January.