Italian prisons are severely overcrowded. A document endorsed by major organizations urges the Government to implement treatment alternatives to imprisonment for drug addicts.

Italian prisons are severely overcrowded. About 65,000 men and women are presently secluded beyond every limit of capacity, and half of them are under custody for drug-related offences. This summer inmates broke the silence and raised their voice to protest against their condition.

Italian laws provide for special probation measures for drug addicted inmates whose custody does not exceed 6 years. At least 10,000 inmates should have access to treatment programs on that base, but in fact they remain in prison as no treatment programs are offered to them.

A number of major organizations committed with a more human and just approach in the field of drug policies and the penal system – Forum Droghe, Antigone, ARCI, CNCA, Gruppo Abele, La Società della ragione among them – held a press conference at the Chamber of Deputies in Rome on October 1st, urging the Italian Government to fully implement “treatment instead of prison” measures for drug addicts. They insisted that building new prisons is not the right answer to overcrowding and asked the Government to develop an immediate plan of resources as well as any other necessary action in order to guarantee the full application of those measures. They also asked the Government to fully implement the existing rules providing for inmates to work outside prisons during the day.

The key policy objectives were outlined in a petition which was endorsed by several key organizations and individuals. For more information see