A Santa Maria Capua Vetere to give a tangible sign that the government He does not forget. And that, now more than ever, the prison system must be reformed. The premier Mario Draghi and the Minister of Justice Marta Cartabia they choose the prison of the “horrible slaughter” – words of the investigating judge who dealt with the case – to broaden the range of the executive’s reforms in the field of justice. Going to touch not only civil and criminal trials but also the prison system and human rights enshrined in the Constitution. “Today we are not here to celebrate triumphs or successes but to face the consequences of our defeats,” he stresses after the visit. The premier and the Keeper of the Seals – with them also the undersecretary to the Prime Minister Roberto Garofoli – arrive in Caserta in the early afternoon. They remained for over an hour in the “Francesco Uccella” penitentiary.
Prisons, Draghi and Cartabia: “The system must be reformed”
Draghi visits different branches of the prison, such as the women’s one or the one with inmates with disabilities. Enter some cells and talk to his tenants. And, in the courtyard of the penitentiary, the acclamation of the inmates also arrives. “Dragons, Dragons”, they shout as the head of the government passes by, also spelling out the request for a “pardon”.
The prime minister obviously also meets the pententiary police. And the message that is delivered to him is unique: the body, with the increase in prisoners, is undersized. Draghi promises them that the government will not leave them alone and that the reform of the pententiary system will also affect the police sector. “The government has no intention of forgetting. There can be no justice where there is abuse. And there can be no re-education where there is abuse », he underlines at the end of the visit. And, the premier, regardless of the investigation into the abuses dating back to 6 April 2020, highlights “the collective responsibility” for the violence, that “of a system that must be reformed”.
“The detention – he continues – must be recovery, rehabilitation. Prisons must be communities. And we must protect, in particular, the rights of the youngest and of the inmates. Prisons must be the beginning of a new life path. The words of the premier are echoed by those of Cartabia who will take over the dossier of the prison reform.
«This must be an opportunity to turn the page on the prison world», underlines the minister assuring that she will field, «immediately», more staff hires and more training. Beyond the events of S. Maria Capua Vetere, for years the Italian prisons have been marked by overcrowding. A slight decrease (from over 60 thousand to 53,329) was recorded in the transition from 2020 to 2021 but the numbers remain high. And Covid has accentuated the difficulties.
«The pandemic acted as a detonator to ancient issues, ”observes Cartabia. And Draghi, in turn, underlines: «Italy has been condemned twice by the European Court of Human Rights for prison overcrowding. There are thousands more inmates than there are available beds. These numbers are improving, but they are still unacceptable ». The reform of the prison system will take a few weeks. But the premier is clear on the principles. «The Constitution establishes in art. 27 the principles that must guide the instrument of detention: Punishments cannot consist of treatments contrary to the sense of humanity and must aim at the re-education of the offender».
«These principles must be accompanied by the protection of universal rights – explains Draghi -. But the government’s road is not downhill». In the wake of the news of the beatings of S. Maria Capua Vetere, the majority has returned to show its divisions on the subject. Pd and Lega start from very distant positions. It will be up to the prime minister and Cartabia to find the, not easy, mediation.