Prison System in Italy

Prison System in Italy

Note: for more related information, see the entry on the Italian Criminal Justice System.

1. Description.

*Number of prisons and type. As of July 16, 1992,
there were 154 district facilities for male
prisoners awaiting trial (Case circondariali
maschili) and 6 female facilities (Case
circondariali femminili). There were 27
penitentiaries for convicted male prisoners
serving a sentence (Case di reclusione maschili)
and 2 female penitentiaries (Case di reclusione
femminili). There were also 2 facilities for
working prisoners serving for safety measures
(Case di lavoro), 2 mental hospitals for offenders
(Ospedali psichiatrici giudiziari), 1 semi-custody
facility in which only the night is spent in
custody (Istituti per semiliberi), 1 national
facility where prisoners under psyhcological
observation participate in re-education and
rehabilitation programms (Istituti nazionali di
osservazione), and 4 prison facilities for drug
addicts (Case di reclusione per
tossicodipendenti). (Ministry of Justice, 1993:

*Number of prison beds. In 1987, the total number
of prison beds was 36,776. The total number of
prison beds in juvenile facilities was 827. (In
1986, the total number of prison beds was 36,053.
The total number of prison beds in juvenile
facilities was 705.) (Fourth United Nations
Survey, 1992).

*Average daily population/Number of prisoners. As
of July 16, 1992, the annual average population of
prisoners was 44,133, while the Italian prison
capacity was 33,883 inmates. (The annual average
population of prisoners for prior years: 31,170
(November 30, 1991); 31,676 (1990); 35,187 (1989);
35,222 (1988); and 33,865 (1987), while the
Italian prison capacity was at 30,986 (November
30, 1991); 29,836 (1990); 29,779 (1989); 29,560
(1988); and 39,139 (1987). The decrease in prison
capacity between 1987 and 1988 is partly due to
the suppression of a number of prison facilities,
but mostly due to the redefinition of the
standards of capacity provided by the Ministry of
Health. (Decree of the Minister, November 23,
1988; Ministry of Justice, 1993).) (Ministry of
Justice, 1993: 221).
On December 31, 1992, there were 47,316
prisoners, of which 44,748 were male and 2,568
were female. (The total number of prisoners for
prior years: 35,469 (male=33,577; female=1,892)
(1991); 25,931 (male=24,568; female=1,363) (1990),
30,680 (male=29,270; female=1,410) (1989), 31,382
(male=29,800; female=1,582) (1988), and 31,773
(male=30,183; female=1,590) (1987).) (Ministry of
Justice of Italy, 1993: 40.)

*Number of annual admissions. In 1992, there were
a total of 93,774 admissions into Italian prisons.
In 1991, there were 80,234 admissions, of which
74,355 were male and 5,879 were female. (The
number of admissions for prior years: 57,738
(male=53,307; female=4,431) (1990); 83,600
(male=76,715; female=6,885) (1989), (male=81,757;
female=7,984) (1988), and 85,875 (male=78,544;
female=7,331) (1987).) (National Institute of
Statistics, April 5, 1993).

*Actual or estimated proportions of inmates
incarcerated. Information not available.

2. Administration.

*Administration. All prisons are administrated
by the State. The General Direction for
Prevention and Penalty Institutes (Direzione
Generale degli Instituti di Prevenzione e Pena) is
a state agency, under the authority of the
Ministry of Justice whose head is usually a judge
(Direttore Generale).

*Number of prison guards. There are a total of
28,721 penitentiary police (prison guards), of
which 751 are marshals (marescialli), 2,034 are
sergeants and vice-sergeants (brigadieri and
vicebrigadieri), and 25,936 are guards (Appuntati
e guardie). (Ministry of Justice, 1993: 189).

*Training and qualifications. Information not

*Expenditure on prison system. Total prison
system expenditures include personnel salaries,
functioning expenses such as goods and services
for the sustenance of the inmates, and ordinary
maintenance of the buildings. It does not include
the costs of the penitentiary building. The total
expenditure for 1991 was 2,277,791 million lire,
while the average daily cost per prisoner was
200,212 lire. (In 1990, expenditures totalled
1,994,197 million lire, while the average daily
cost per prisoner was 172,477 lire.)

3. Prison conditions.

*Remissions. There are instances in which a
prisoner may get time off for good behavior or
parole. A convicted prisoner who participates in
a re-education program is entitled to early
release from prison (Liberazione anticipata)
amounting to a reduction of the length of
imprisonment equivalent to 45 days for each
6-month period spent in prison. For example, a 5-year prison
sentence would allow for a maximum
reduction of about 15 months, resulting in 3 years
and 9 months of actual time served. (Official
Gazette, August 9, 1975).
A convicted prisoner who has served part of
the prison sentence and whose behavior is such
that one can regard him as reformed, can be
released under a number of specific conditions
which, for serious crimes, are very strict. (Penal
Code Art.176,177).

*Work/education. Inmates are required to work.
However, prison work is not considered forced
labor and it is remunerated. Under certain
conditions, working outside the prison is
Prisoners may also attend classes. Specific
provisions have been established in order to
facilitate university studies.

*Amenities/privileges. Visits are allowed on a
weekly basis. Inmates are allowed to communicate
by telegraph, in writing (and by phone with some
restictions). They can also participate in group
therapy and educational/vocational programs.
Medical and psychological assistance is provided
by law and takes place according to the specific
conditions of prison facilities. (Official
Gazette, August 9, 1975).

Criminal Justice System

This entry gives a general account of the overall criminal system and outline the political and legal structure and the history of the x criminal justice system to help account for the unique aspects that may help to bind the many parts of this criminal justice system together, and to show the extent to how this criminal justice system plays in the overall social control of x. The section on crime definitions and statistic provides some basis of “output” of the criminal justice bureaucracies of the country.

Note: this work was completed in 1993


See Also

  • Criminal Justice
  • Legal System
  • Criminology
  • Italian Criminal Justice System

Further Reading

  • Cole, George F., S. J. Frankowski, and M. G. Gertz, (1987) Major Criminal Justice Systems. Beverly Hills: Sage.
  • David, R. and J. E. Brierley (1968) Major Legal Systems of the World Today. London: Free Press.
  • Fairchild, E. (1993), Comparative criminal justice systems. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
  • Feeley, Malcolm M. (1973), “Two models of the criminal justice system”. Law and Society Review, 7(3): 407-425.

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