Crime and Court news / Health

Italy shuts down its criminal asylums

In Italy, just like in most States, you can’t be held responsible for a crime if you are recognized as insane at the time of such crime.

If so the Court, with the help of some experts, will evaluate if you are “socially dangerous”; in the affirmative case, you will be interned in a criminal asylum until you are not a social danger anymore.

Criminal asylums, which are officially called “Judiciary Psychiatric Hospitals”, are staffed by the Penitentiary Police and, in practice, they differ little from an ordinary prison. Conditions are perhaps milder but, to make up for it, you’ll never get up if you are not certified as sane or, at least, not dangerous. This is called “ergastolo bianco”, id est “an unofficial life term”.

In theory, at the end of March all the criminal asylums should have been shut and the interned patients moved to psychiatric wards staffed by healthcare assistants. However, the new psychiatric wards, which should have been prepared by the Regional Governatorates under the aegis of the National Health Service, are not ready, and the patients are simply staying in their asylums, some of them with the ominous prospect of being moved to a jail infirmary.



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