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Article: Supporting Italian Prisoners Abroad (2017)


Since 2013 the Italian Prison and Society Association (Associazione Carcere e Territorio Onlus) has been working on a project in favour of Italians who are detained abroad, with the aim to provide them support. Taking advantage of the experience of London-based Prisoners Abroad and from a number of best practices made available by the EuroPris/CEP FNPP network. The most important actions and outcomes of this project are presented in the “Italian Prisoners Abroad” paper.

The living conditions of foreign detainees in Italy have long been the subject of study by academics and other stakeholders at national and international level. The acknowledgment of the added discomfort and the anguish associated with the deprivation of liberty suffered in a country other than the birthplace, has given rise to multiple efforts aiming at mitigating the hurdles experienced by individuals incarcerated in a foreign territory. The research focus, however, is greatly narrowed when in the same condition we have Italian nationals detained abroad: the situation is almost reversed with the difference that there is no frank determination to own up to the experience of Italian nationals detained abroad. Perhaps the numerical paucity of this category, when compared to that of foreigner nationals detained in Italy, makes less urgent a reflection on the operational strategies to be implemented to alleviate the experience of detention in a foreign country abroad. Furthermore, given the relatively small number of Italian nationals detained abroad, it is challenging to generate public interest on penal policy practices that are relevant only for a minor fragment of the population. Embedded with this general framework, with the intent to provide support to Italian nationals detained abroad, the NGO Carcere e Territorio (Prison and Community) has designed a project aimed at Italians who are detained abroad. In full operation since 2015, the outlines of such project are briefly described in this paper.

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By Luisa Ravagnani and Nicoletta Policek