Anti-torture committee examines conditions in Italy08/09/17Government
The Council of Europe’s (CoE) Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) has published a report on its periodic visit to Italy, together with the Italian Government’s response.
The CPT noted the reform measures recently implemented by the Italian authorities, in the areas of prison overcrowding and forensic psychiatry, and examined the living conditions of persons deprived of their liberty by law enforcement and penitentiary authorities.
The CPT raised concerns over allegations of physical ill-treatment of persons deprived of their liberty by law enforcement agencies. Material conditions were also found to be lacking at a number of State Police and Carabinieri establishments, and the CPT’s delegation observed poor conditions in detention cells at the Florence Questura.
In the report, the CPT acknowledged the unprecedented reform of the penitentiary system undertaken by the Italian authorities following the 2013 European Court of Human Rights’ (ECHR) pilot judgment Torreggiani v Italy. The various measures resulted in the decrease of the prison population by 11,000 inmates and the increase in the capacity of the prison estate by 2,500 places in the three years prior to the visit. However, the prison population has continued to increase since the beginning of 2016.
The vast majority of prisoners confirmed that they have been treated appropriately, though there were allegations regarding ill-treatment by prison staff at all the prisons visited, with the exception of Ascoli Piceno. Episodes of inter-prisoner violence were not infrequent, in particular at Como and Sassari prisons, and CPT reported that enhanced vigilance by penitentiary staff was required.
The CPT welcomed the initiative to monitor more closely the use of means of restraint in psychiatric establishments, particularly in the light of the disparity in practices observed during the visit.