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NEWS

Short Update: Italian courts urged to use alternatives to detention and to release prisoners

FairTrialsAdmin - April 28, 2020 - COVID-19 Updates, prison conditions

As COVID-19 is spreading in Italian prisons, prisoner release measures adopted earlier may prove to be ineffective due to the lack of electronic bracelets for those required to stay in house arrest and lack of home to return to for many prisoners. Italian courts are urged to widen the use of alternatives to detention, defer the executions of less serious sentences and release prisoners serving short prisons sentences.  

There are currently 61,230 prisoners in 189 Italian penitentiary institutions (a third held without a definitive judgment) with the maximum capacity of 50,931 places, resulting in overcrowding rate of 119 percent. The Prosecutor General has suggested that building a larger prison could provide an answer to the longstanding overcrowding crisis. However, this approach would be contrary to the Committee for Prevention of Torture and the European Court of Human Rights recommendations suggesting greater resort to alternatives to detention as the most effective measure to tackle overcrowding. 

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