ADIR - L'altro diritto

ISSN 1827-0565

Juvenile decarceration

Chiara Rugi, 2000


Aim of this research is to study the available forms of decarceration within juvenile Justice, and the degree of their implementation.

The introductory chapter examines the origins of the first juvenile institutions that, after the Classical School, assumed punishment to have mostly a retributive function. After the second half of the eighteenth century the framework changed. According to the Positive School the individual and social reasons for criminality had to come into focus. From the Zanardelli Code to the Rocco Code and to the 1934 law that established the Juvenile Courts, the attention to young offender increased more and more, as did the influence of the Positive School.

In 1956, with the reform of the Juvenile Courts, the rehabilitative model, as opposed to the retributive one, is firmly established. At the end of the sixties the first rifts seem to appear, especially as regards the actual results of the rehabilitative interventions, but it is after the protests of the sixties and seventies that this model went into crisis. The interactionist theories and an increasing attention to the institutionalisation process led, among other factors, to a firm opposition to institutionalisation. But these tendencies where in fact ineffective, and indeed the seventies where the years of strict control policies. This attitude was somehow balanced by the opposite attitude of the Juvenile Courts, that resorted largely to decarceration measures. The first chapter deals also with the penitentiary laws and with the 1977 D.P.R. n. 616. After follows a discussion of the 80's debates on juvenile justice, pointing at the demand for a new trial law.

The second chapter examines the new juvenile trial law (D.P.R. 448/88) and its guiding principles, particularly as regards decarceration. The chapter studies also the actual implementation of the D.P.R. 448/88, observing the differences amongst the Italian regions and studying the difficulties encountered as regards the decarceration of foreigners young offenders.

The third chapter discusses the main decarceration measures in the juvenile system, and examines the available data on the implementation, in 1998, of the alternative measures to detention, observing the differences in the application of those measures amongst the Italian regions, and the difficulties of application as regards foreigner offenders.

In the last part of the work these national data are studied by the light of what happened in Florence, from 1995 to 2000, in the Juvenile Court and in the Juvenile Court for the Enforcement of the Sentences. To put into context these data also the situation of the Florence detention home is studied, examining attentively, and putting into reciprocal connection, the cases of all of the inmates that passed trough this institution.