Alternative measures

Publish date 17-10-2020

by Chiara Genisio

Investing in alternative measures to prison has not only a social impact, but also an economic one. The numbers show that a person subjected to this alternative form of imprisonment has a recidivism rate three times lower than someone serving their sentence in prison. Now Antigone's mid-year report, presented on August 10, shows that up to 500,000 euros could be saved a year. The accounts are simple: an inmate costs an average of 150 euros per day while a person in an alternative measure just over 15 euros, therefore a tenth. The prison population today is around 53,600 inmates, of which 96% are men. Foreigners about 32.5%.
More than 52% of prisoners have to serve less than three years of sentence and some of them may have access to alternative measures, one in five prisoners only have to serve one year.
During phase 1 of the pandemic, some provisions were issued to facilitate alternative measures in order to lighten the presence of detainees and ensure greater distancing, but they expired on 30 June.
The numbers.
With these provisions, 3,379 people were sent to home detention, but only 975 were equipped with an electronic bracelet. These devices are far fewer than those promised in the agreement between the ministries of the Interior and of Justice (300 per weeks), "confirming - Antigone argues - that this is an expensive and difficult measure to apply". The semi-free to which the license was extended were 561.
With respect to alternative measures, it should finally be emphasized that in recent years they have expanded in a very important way, contributing on the one hand to containing the numbers of the prison population, but on the other hand by increasing the total number of persons under criminal control, which April 15, 2020 there were about 110,000 (considering both the prison population and that in alternative measure). The numbers are very telling. In 2008, there were 4,000 people in probationary foster care for social services; at the end of 2013 they had become 11,109, at the end of 2018 16,612, at the end of 2019 18,179 and finally at 15 April 2020 they were 18,598.
A negative fact that the Antigone report records is the increase in suicides in Italian prisons. Until 1 August there were already 34, in the same period last year, with a prison population of several thousand more, they were 26.
In about 60% of cases they are Italians and 40% of foreigners. The youngest was 23 and the oldest 60. 43% were between 30 and 39 years old.
Chiara Genisio
Column of New Project "Without Barriers"

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