10 March 2020 :
Faced with the news of riots underway in prisons, the association Hands Off Cain - Spes contra Spem appeals to the entire prison community, made up of prisoners, managers and prison operators, so that the behaviors are in the name of nonviolence and dialogue. The appeal is also addressed to the media so that they make known the measures adopted by the Government aimed at containing the spread of the virus in prisons. On this last point, it is a positive sign that the decree recommends the authorities to evaluate the adoption of alternative measures of home detention (art 2 letter u). For the managers of the association, Sergio D’Elia, Rita Bernardini and Elisabetta Zamparutti, respectively Secretary, President and Treasurer, the human reaction to fear risks is causing huge mistakes, as we see happening in these hours. We invite everyone to desist from violent reactions convinced that this is not the way to protect oneself from dangers. Instead, we must weigh and remain vigilant.
This applies to those in managerial and custodial roles and also to prisoners and their family members. It is important for us right now that everyone is following the precautionary health measures.
It is a moment that must also be taken to spread knowledge and awareness on what are the conditions of life in prison affected, before COVID-19, by the problem of overcrowding. A problem that, in our opinion, must be addressed with measures such as a moratorium on the use of detention (postponing the time of detention of the newly convicted persons, and postponing the completion of the detention of those who are already in prison) and also the amnesty and the pardon, starting from those who have to serve short sentences or residual sentences to be expiated, taking into account that there are 8,682 prisoners who have a residual sentence to serve less than 12 months and other 8,146 prisoners who have to serve sentences between 1 and two years . However, it is not through violence that good governance measures in prison conditions can be achieved. We must never play the worst, the best, and always keep in mind that the means we adopt, whether violent or wrong, jeopardize the goodness of the objectives and ends to which we aspire.