The Italian House on Wednesday passed a major penal reform bill into law aimed at clearing painfully overcrowded prison cells and decriminalizing undocumented immigration.
The law follows repeated pressure from the European Union to shape up Italy’s prisons and penal system.
Last year the European Court of Human Rights gave Italy one year to institute reforms to eliminate inhumane prison conditions. The new law also decriminalizes a number of charges, including undocumented immigration.
Violations currently punished by fine, such as the failure to make social-security payments, will no longer be deemed a crime.
In Italy there’s is also a big issue with Maroccan prisoners. They are around 4,000 and recently Justice minister Andrea Orlando has signed an agreement with his Maroccan counterpart to have Maroccan convicts sent back home.
Overcrowding is still a problem in nearly half of European countries, according to a recent Survey by the Council of Europe. It also states that on average, European prisons were at the top of their capacity, holding 99.5 inmates per 100 places.
Prison overcrowding is a big issue here in the Uk too, where according to the latest statistics 1 in 4 prisoners stays in overcrowded cells. The worst affected prison is Wansworth. Overcrowding and staff cuts make sometimes life impossibile inside cells.It’s necessary to move more people to community services.