A careful phenomenological analysis, structured mainly on surveys of statistical data on the incidence of crimes in the metropolitan city of Catania, highlights a widespread involvement (particularly accentuated in some areas) of minors in criminal matters or, in any case, of social negative value. This phenomenon is attributable to several factors, including the cultural impoverishment of large parts of the population, the educational lack of families of origin, the inability of social structures to raise these drifts and the consequent emergence of the phenomenon of early School leaving, which in recent years has reached unacceptable levels and underlines a serious disruption in the growth of young people. In a recent sector study, the average dropout rate of about 25% of the affected students was indicated, higher than the regional and national, especially in the suburbs of the city.
This is a fact that affects many children and young people and which puts Catania in relation to the number of inhabitants at national record levels. Over the years, this sad record has not received the necessary attention, nor has an adequate social policy of prevention and contrast been carried out. The concrete risk, partially also determined by objective data, that this phenomenon can feed the black labor market or constitute a catchment area for criminal organizations is clearly evident. It is known that criminal organizations – especially in the neighborhoods that are most at risk – recruit minors who come from families in difficult conditions and are in situations of work or school. In the crisis of the school, the family and other social structures, criminal organizations commit themselves to become models of attraction.
In order to prevent juvenile deviance and the rampant early school leaving, as well as to ensure the full implementation of the protection functions of minors receiving judicial measures, the Catania institutions, in full synergy and connection with each other, started a new way . , to give impetus to new projects, with the aim of stopping and contrasting the current and growing problem. As is known, an agreement was signed between the public administrations in January 2021 in the prefecture, promoted by the prefect and the president of the Juvenile Court, based on the experience of the latter in Reggio Calabria with the “Free to vote” project. This agreement, also signed by the Quaestor and the Provincial Commanders of the Carabinieri and the Guardia di Finanza, by the Prosecutor at the Court of Catania, by the Public Prosecutor at the Juvenile Court, by the Mayor of the Metropolitan City, by the Director of the Office Provincial School, the Director General of the ASP, the USSM, the Labor Inspectorate, the University and the Diocese, provided for the creation of a Metropolitan Observatory for coordination and monitoring, which will meet periodically to develop strategies for the prevention of criminal phenomena and promote social reintegration of minors also in the execution of protective measures adopted by the judicial authority.
The police headquarters, through the section commissariats, especially those of “Librino” and “San Cristoforo”, where the problem is more pronounced, under agreement, the result of long work, contacted the school managers of the institutes, including ICS Dusmet Doria , ICS Fontanarossa, ICS Pestalozzi and IP Archè, committed to monitor and identify the relevance of the violations of compulsory education, after the parents do not start and, if applicable, to “formally recall” the last compliant with the “pact for social inclusion” on the subject of citizenship income, the violation of which is the sanction of the limitation and / or confiscation of the economic benefit paid by the INPS, according to Art 7 Co. 9 of Legislative Decree 4/2019, conv. in law 26/2019. Several hundred reports have already been forwarded by the FF.PP. to the ordinary prosecutor’s office, to the prosecutor’s office for minors, also in the resources strengthened with aggregation of the judicial police personnel of the state police, as well as to the juvenile court and from the last office to the social services, for inclusion in the Platform GEPI ministerial, for later assessments on the suspension of social security benefits possibly indicated to the family members of minors. Especially with effect from January 1, 2022 (until July 13, 2022) n. 808 civil proceedings for truancy/evacuation at the prosecutor’s office for minors and 163 are the measures accepted by the juvenile court.
The issued measures have already produced encouraging results, making it possible to intervene to protect many minors in situations of personal and family difficulties. The virtuous circle of communication, the synergies and the practices experienced in the metropolitan city of Catania already form an absolute precedent and give hope for the future, in the awareness that early school leaving is the first symptom of the educational poverty in which many minors find themselves. The declaration of the economic benefits provided by the INPS, in accordance with the current legislation, is only intended as a deterrent, not an affective tool, to stimulate parents to respect the pact for social inclusion and the to ensure regular schooling of their children. This planning, which is promoted by the above-mentioned administrations, will be supported and continued at the beginning of the next school year and therefore has a double goal: on the one hand, to keep the constant and constructive dialogue between the operators of the FF.PP. , Education and social agencies, engaged in the most affected neighborhoods and the families of the minors involved, to sensitize parents to respect the primary rules of civil coexistence; on the other hand, to try to find and recover the children lost in the area, so that they have equal opportunities with other peers and finally “choose freely” and build their future, with the hope of a regular introduction and the world of the Prefecture of Catania Territorial Office of the Government work and without the suffering of a life marked by deviance connected.
After the press conference to present the first results of the prevention and contrast of early school leaving, a meeting of the Metropolitan Observatory for the prevention of deviation was held in the conference room of the Department of Political and Social Sciences of the University of Catania. Minors who have focused on the request of the coordination of initiatives and supervision of the Pnrr of Catania on operational proposals on possible urban rehabilitation interventions to combat social difficulties, especially of minors. On this occasion, in recognition of the positive results of the same observatory in the fight against early school leaving, it was agreed to plan its future activities through the creation of three distinct thematic tables. The first focuses on urban regeneration projects, including those dedicated to school buildings, mobility and urban green spaces, through the recognition of the financing of the Pnrr and with the help of the specific skills and professionalism provided by the University of Catania.
The second will focus its attention on the training projects, the culture of legality and the opposition to early school leaving, in the continuation of the activities that have already started, also through the support provided by the Juvenile Court Authority of the multidisciplinary team, that of a new protocol of understanding that it will be signed in September and that has already received the approval of the Ministry of the Interior. The third table will operate at least one activity of monitoring and prevention of the phenomena of youth deviance, paying particular attention to the so-called “sentinel offenses” that involve minors, in order to proceed promptly with the appropriate reports that the youth Judicial authorities are allowed to intervene under the “free to choose” protocol. Finally, the President of the Catania Section of the National Magistrates Association presented the project “CIAK …. A simulated trial to avoid a real trial”, promoted by the President of the Juvenile Court of Catania and of the “CIAK- Training and Legality “, dedicated to students who, in the context of a wider training, are the protagonists in the simulation of a trial. The observatory, which has been extended to the regional order of social workers, the Regional Childhood Supervisor and the delegates of the to include three confederated unions, will be updated in September to further monitor the initiatives that have been launched.