Migrants Make Up Almost One-Third of Prisoners in Italy

LAMPEDUSA, ITALY - MAY 18: A small rubber boat overcrowded with refugees and migrants passes a boat set alight by rescue crews from the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) Phoenix vessel after all passengers were rescued on May 18, 2017 in the Lampedusa, Italy. Numbers of refugees and migrants attempting …
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Nearly one-third of occupants in Italian prisons are migrants, with the latest official data showing over 17,000 prisoners came from abroad.

Around 32 per cent of prisoners in Italy are from a foreign country, amounting to just under 1 in 3 incarcerated in the country being from abroad.

Of this number, a significant proportion entered Italy illegally, with the country having received over 67,000 migrants as a whole last year.

According to a report by Il Giornale, the proportion of foreign-born prisoners varies greatly by region, with migrants sometimes constituting up to 78 per cent of inmates in some jails.

Italian Undersecretary of the Interior, Nicola Molteni, also told the publication that a large proportion of crimes are committed by illegal migrants.

“The data linked to arrivals is alarming,” Molteni said. “Of these 67,000, over 40,000 arrive with small boats, rafts or sailing ships and about 10,000 through those NGOs that return to command in the Mediterranean, violating international conventions, laws and regulatory provisions.”

“…irregular and out of control immigration increases, obviously alongside an indigenous national crime that unfortunately exists and with respect to which the police forces are at the forefront to fight,” Molteni continued.

According to the publication, some of the most common crimes committed by foreigners in Italy concern drug dealing and child prostitution, with crimes such as homicides and falsification of documents also reported as prominent.

Italian prisons are not the only locations seeing large proportions of foreign migrants.

Italy has seen over 67,000 migrants land on its shore in 2021, with at least 35,000 of those making landfall on the Sicilian island of Lampedusa.

The massive influx represents more than five times the number of the island’s population of 6,500, with the island’s reception centre — which has enough capacity for  250 people — sometimes being overloaded by arrivals.

Migrants frequently make the journey to the country in un-seaworthy vessels, paying as much as €8,000 for a place on boats that are sometimes abandoned by the smugglers sailing them.

Speaking on the massive influx, Italian Prime Minister and former European Central Bank President Mario Draghi emphasised Italy’s desire for a collective European response to the crisis.

“Italy cannot do everything alone,” Draghi said. “Italy continues to promote a European advance towards collective management, in a balance between responsibility and solidarity.”


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