In its first part this research describes the legal discipline of the First Reception Centres, from the art. 9 of the D. Lgs. 272/1989 to the following circulars of the Juvenile Justice Department, identifying on the one hand the institutional ends of the centres, and on the other hand pointing at their inconsistencies.
What follows is a review of the functions of the First Reception Centres within the juvenile criminal system and the juvenile trial. The analysis ends with a description of the organisational features of the Centres, with a particular concern for the professional figures involved.
In its second part the research compares the mentioned analysis of the Centres with some actual experiences, two from the centre-north (Milan and Florence) and one from the south (Naples): every aspect of the legislation is compared to its implementation in the three Centres examined.
Finally the research presents some statistical data regarding the flow of users both at a national and local level (Milan, Florence and Naples), to provide the quantitative dimension of the discussed issues.
The final part on the local data is particularly useful to understand the differences in the number of the users in any Centre, and in particular the differences between the centre-north and the south of Italy.