Monday, August 18, 2008

Italian jails aren't as much fun as they used to be

Flouting many years of tradition, the conservative Italian government of Silvio Berlusconi (left) seems intent on making prison an unpleasant experience.

According to a story by Nick Pisa of the UK Telegraph, the Berlusconi administration has been cracking down on prison privileges formerly extended to convicted Mafiosi. Among the measures recently instituted, inmates are prohibited from singing. Officials noted the possibility that convicted crime bosses could communicate orders through their songs.

Prison socializing has also been curtailed. It is common for Mafiosi deemed dangerous to be locked in their cells for 23 hours each day and to have only limited exposure to family, friends and attorneys. The government has a list of 570 prisoners it feels are threats to society.

"We have evidence that in the past orders and messages were passed on and we have also stopped them mixing with each other as well. They will spend the majority of their day alone in their cells," Justice Minister Angelino Alfano said.

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Writer, editor, researcher, web publisher, specializing in organized crime history. (I am available to assist with your historical/genealogical research, as well as your writing and editing chores. Email me at
I am editor/publisher of crime history journal, Informer; publisher of American Mafia history website; moderator of Mafia-related online forums; author of Wrongly Executed?; coauthor of Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia and DiCarlo: Buffalo's First Family of Crime; contributor of American Mafia history to Australian-published Mafia: The Necessary Reference to Organized Crime; writer/co-writer of crime history articles for Informer, On the Spot Journal, Cigar City Magazine, Tampa Mafia Magazine.