13 Guards Arrested for Abuse at Italian Juvenile Detention Centre

Italy

Authorities in Italy took action yesterday, arresting 13 guards at a juvenile detention centre in Milan on allegations of assaulting and subjecting young detainees to torture. Additionally, eight other guards were suspended pending further investigation.

The arrests, conducted at the Cesare Beccaria juvenile prison on the outskirts of Lombardy's capital, were part of an ongoing probe into incidents dating back to 2022. Italian police detailed the charges, including accusations of torture, abuse of authority, complicity in attacks against minors, and one case involving attempted sexual violence.

Investigators uncovered evidence through a combination of telephone intercepts, closed-circuit television footage, and testimonies from former inmates, according to a police press release.

The revelations shed light on systemic issues within Italian prisons, including overcrowding and inadequate funding. With nominal capacity exceeding actual occupancy by thousands, the challenges facing the penal system are significant.

The Cesare Beccaria detention centre, where most of the accused guards were stationed, operates with a shortage of staff and has lacked a director for two decades.

While expressing shock at the allegations, the SAPPE union, representing prison officers, emphasised its trust in the judicial process to address the situation swiftly.

During a press conference, Milan's chief prosecutor Marcello Viola described the case as a "painful" chapter in Italy's prison system, highlighting the severity of the charges.

Prosecutor Letizia Manella revealed that the accused guards believed their actions were disciplinary measures to manage unruly inmates. However, their methods crossed legal boundaries, she asserted.

Though the juvenile inmate population in Italy remains relatively small compared to the overall prison population, it has seen a notable increase in recent years. Advocacy group Antigone reported a rise from 381 juvenile prisoners in 2022 to 532 by February 2024, indicating a concerning trend.

(Source: Efsyn)

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