no more children in prison. But there is baby gang alarm

At the Opera Prison – Photogram, Archive photo

We’ll call her Mary, even if it’s not her real name. When they hug their baby, they forget for a moment that she is in prison. It does not take long, however, because the iron animals, the yarns on the windows and everything else remind her directly, tirelessly, of her condition as a prisoner mother. He is serving his sentence in the Reggio Calabria prison, “therefore not in a sheltered structure, as unfortunately sometimes happens for various reasons,” explained Seals keeper Marta Cartabia, heard yesterday morning by the Parliamentary Committee on Childhood, to which she Data and assessments on the situation of the female prisoners with their successors and on the juvenile court provided. “Our ideal destination is: no more children in prison,” the minister hopes, convincing. They imprisoned themselves, together with their mothers ».

The figure down. In Italy, the number of mothers with children in prison is “in sharp decline”, a third of which was recorded in 2019, “when there were 44 mothers with 48 minors”. At present there are “15 mothers in prison” (5 Italian, 10 foreign) “with a total of 16 children in battle”. Among them “5 are still charged”, and await a final verdict. Among the structures that hold the most, 9, is the institute with attenuated custody for mothers (Icam) in Lauro, in the province of Avellino. A modern building where – also with the contribution of the Federico II University of Naples – the interiors were renovated and converted into “two-room apartments” that “simulate a family environment as much as possible” and help “reduce trauma” . spent two years in a house of the Constitution. “Two recluse mothers were found in the Milanese ICAM of San Vittore; two others in that of Turin, one in the Icam of Venice Giudecca. While in the fifth Italian institute with attenuated custody, in Cagliari, there are currently no mothers with children.
The condition of the fifteen women and their children is at the heart of the Minister: “I feel very much responsible for what we can or cannot do in this area”, in which “the difficulties are more significant and more cumbersome than you can imagine. “. Parliamentary Commission President Licia Ronzulli reiterated to her: “There are still too many innocent children who are forced to grow up behind bars – she says – without father. where every child should grow up ”.

Young perpetrator. According to data from the Ministry of Via Arenula, as of 31 December last year, 20,748 minors and young adults were taken over by the social welfare offices for minors, mostly subject to measures taken in the external penitentiary. On the same date, 815 entries were registered in the penitentiary for minors, with an increase compared to the previous year. Again, “in the first reception centers, in 2021, the adoptions were equal to 561”, while at the same time “in the municipalities, both ministerial and private, the placements were 1,480”.

Baby worker of the Camorra. Cartabia refers to “minors used as workers in organized crime, starting with the Camorra”. And then there are teenagers “sometimes protagonists of the equally disturbing phenomenon of the so-called baby gangs”. An alarm that amplifies the ones launched by various courts of appeal during the inauguration of the judicial year.

Theft, robbery and drugs. Among the crimes of minors, the most common are those against property (1,007 cases last year, particularly theft and robbery), but also violations of the rules for drugs (208 cases) and voluntary injury (177 cases). eraus.).

The “Test”. Practice shows how, in order to counteract youth deviations, a “highly effective” response is given by the experience of the test. Data in hand, “83.55% of the measures defined in the process between 2007 and 2020 had a positive result”, says the Minister, and believes, “the best way is always to show a solid alternative, concrete , reliable in respect of the way. of crime. ”The facts show, warns Cartabia that“ those born into a mafia family context are not inevitably doomed to a criminal inheritance. ”It is up to our adults, to schools and to all educators , to break an alleged fate of the deviant, “continues the keeper of justice and that of schooling”.

What are Icam

They are called Icam: they are the institutes with reduced custody for mothers in prison. These are structures that were set up experimentally in 2006 so that women who have to serve a sentence and who cannot benefit from alternatives to imprisonment keep their children with them. The Italian penal system stipulates that mothers in prison with prisoners under the age of six must actually benefit from alternative treatments to detention.

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