Letta says Napolitano's message 'exemplary'
Treatment of prisoners reflects badly on Italy, says PM08 October, 19:06
And he praised President Giorgio Napolitano for his "exemplary" call for action by Parliament on prison reform made earlier in the day. "If it is true that the degree of civilization of a nation is measured by the level of their prisons, the current situation demeans the dignity of prisoners and, with them, the whole of Italy," Letta said in a statement. However, Napolitano's "message...on the prison issue is exemplary" and gives the government a way to "redeem" the country.
Letta added that the government “will continue to do everything possible” to deal with the issue. Napolitano warned earlier in the day that Parliament is faced with "the absolute necessity of putting an end" to overcrowding and other prison conditions that have been denounced by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. "The pressing need to change the condition of prisons is a legal, political and moral imperative," said the president, who has long denounced conditions in Italian prisons.
Earlier this year, the Strasbourg court rejected Italy's appeal against a condemnation of Rome for the state of Italian jails.
Italy had formally challenged the Strasbourg-based court after it ordered Rome to correct the "degrading and inhumane conditions" in its prisons and to pay 100,000 euros in damages to seven inmates.
The country's prison conditions have long been the source of criticism from human rights groups.