(ANSA) - Rome, January 25 - Justice Minister Paola Severino
expressed her ''deep bitterness and discomfort over the ongoing
dramatic nature of the situation in Italian prisons'' at the
official opening of the judicial year on Friday.
''It is unacceptable that at the start of this month,
24,124 detainees out of 65,789, or around 36% of the entire
prison population, should be awaiting justice,'' Severino said.
Of these, over half have not even received a sentence by a
first-degree court, she added.
''More can and must be done both on the level of day-to-day
administration and through legislation,'' Severino insisted,
adding that the prison population has however fallen from 68,047
when the technocrat government led by Mario Monti took office in
''A balanced and lasting solution to this truly complex
emergency can only be found through a synergy between
substantial decriminalisation, a new and more flexible
regulation of alternative punitive measures and a new management
of prison structures,'' said the Justice Minister, concluding
that a prison sentence should only be considered as last resort.