In the Italian Penitentiary Institute, every year die of natural causes more than 100 prisoners. Rarely the newspapers will give the news. Sometimes, the death is due to cardiovascular disease; sometimes it mark the epilogue of the chronic disease or a hunger strike or even in a suicide, that in the prison has a frequency of 19 times.Other deaths, however, are suspected of ill-treatment by staff in service or violence by other detainees. The tragic case of Stephen Cucchi is only the latest in a series that originated in past few years. The Judiciary system is taking care of the death of Luigi Acquaviva, Giuliano Costantini, Francesco Romeo, Mauro Fedele. Plausible the hypothesis of murder, waiting for the outcome of the judicial investigation, these deaths are still classified as “natural causes”.Often these tragedy are located in crumbling structures, with not much rehabilitative activity, where it is poor even volunteering. To these lack must be added the cuts to the penitentiary health board and the reduction of the staff. The prisoner are not guaranteed the rights to health and dignity.And so is that destroyed people in prison awaiting trial. Today, just a warrant because newspapers and television stations from destroying the life of the suspect, without taking any account of the presumption of innocence guaranteed by law and by the State, until a final ruling. Suspect that in 50% of cases will eventually acquitted … But now their name has been associated with criminal events and that is what stays in people’s memories. Not the sentence of acquittal or the paragraph correction in the newspapers.Another critical side is that the reintegration in the society in the end of the penalty. There are bodies responsible for supporting people released from prison, the councils of social welfare, imposed by the Prison Reform Act of 1975. Then there are the offices for the Execution External Penal (U.E.P.E.), with the dual function of monitoring and support during the implementation of alternative measures. But often, everything remains on paper. The penalty is just retribution, rehabilitation is rejected. It follows that addicts return to drugs, the thief to steal, to kill the murderess.Of course, the solutions do not come out magically from the cylinder. But it could encourage projects of self-harm and suicide prevention, monitoring – while making use of associations and newspapers prison – the deaths in prisons, provide access to health care volunteers to accompany the medical staff on duty. The foreign prisoners, more and more, also require targeted health education, socio-cultural mediation.In this bleak landscape, become emblematic, and dramatically present the words of Adriano Sofri written in 1999 in “U.E.P.E.” “I want to come back to this shame avoidance. In the last months have escaped three from Rebibbia and one from Milan Opera. Old people, with knotted bed sheets … But the most common form of evasion and deceitful, because they form so as to be ignored in crime statistics, is suicide. A hundred criminals a year if they go well, sometimes even with their sheets Administration. It’s time to say stop! “.
Translated by Martina Delser