Rivista Anarchica Online


Prisons in Sardinia
by Laura Gargiulo

The extraordinary plan launched by the government jails for the 4 new prisons on the island. This is a great deal economically and at the same time a tool to control the "deviance" and the territory.
Analyze them closely.


They called it land of conquest ...

Cagliari: 58 milions and 840 thousand euro.

Sassari: 53 milions and 710 thousand euro.

Oristano: 36 milions and 150 thousand euro.

Tempio: 33 milions.

These are investments that the State has decided to allocate for the construction of four new prisons in Sardinia. Prisons are part of the extraordinary plan submitted January 23, 2009 by the Council of Ministers, which should respond to the current "structural inadequacy of the Italian prison system and the consequent overcrowding, with the construction of eight prisons (as well as that of Sardinia, Forlì , Rovigo, Savona and Reggio Calabria).
But how does it work and who are the stars of this big investment in a whole comes to about € 160 million for prisons only sardines? To answer these questions, to understand the political logic with which the state "invests"in Sardinia, you must unravel a complex tangle of wires that go from the rooms of Deputies to the studies of important business, recently the attention of local news.
The plan uses a special prison set of exceptions provided for by Italian law already widely practiced in the aftermath of the earthquake as the Eagle: ministerial decrees are called (in this case between the Ministry of Justice and infrastructure) that relate to "work with urgency whose performance must be accompanied by special security measures, as regards the implementation plan of the prison, the resolution of the national state of emergency gives the prison the Prime Minister to use, up to and including 2010, of Commissioners delegates to implement the actions foreseen in the framework of the emergency national prisons "(1). In other words, establishing a special commissioner, established as head of the Department of Penitentiary Administration (Franco Ionta) and which has full powers under the decree crisis "in order to proceed to the completion of the necessary investments to build new prison facilities or increase the capacity of existing ones. " You will then Ionta, and he alone, to do projects, identify the companies, assign the work, contact the regional presidents and mayors of the affected areas to new works.
The tenders also are covered by state secrecy. Why build a jail is serious, terribly serious, "leaves the safety of the state and citizens," you say to a public level, but in private they know that at stake are contracts for millions of euro and secrecy is a must. To finance the plan the state prisons (Law 14/2009) has provided the so-called "project financing", ie involve the private sector in a project that makes a yield land or property that otherwise would remain unused for lack of funds, with the advantage for private investment in a work from which will derive substantial guadagni (2). The second source of funding, however, is the case of fines, currently has about 159 million euro, whose funds come from fines paid by convicted persons, and that has always been used exclusively for programs to rehabilitate prisoners. In short, the use of fines to fund the construction of prisons is how to use the severance pay for workers to pay for the building renovation of a company.
But let us return to contracts, which took place "through informal race among firms trust administration, and the winners who are awarded the construction of four new prisons in Sardinia. We realize that the extraordinary plan for prisons is linked to another plan for building an exceptional, one related to La Maddalena in the G8. Here are the companies involved:

  • Opere Pubbliche spa has been awarded the construction of the jail of Cagliari, already grossed 39 million 444 thousand euro, representing 52.65% of the cost, the same group was awarded the construction of the sewage treatment plant in La Maddalena;
  • Anemone srl, manufacturer of the existing building conference in La Maddalena (58 million), received 26 million 232 thousand euro (35.15% of the total) for the construction of the jail of Sassari, Pallets area;
  • Gia.fi Costruzione Spa received 31 million and € 364 000 (62.58%) for the Tempio prison, while the G8 had obtained a contract from 59 million to build the hotel that would accommodate the heads of state;
  • Gruppo Intini di Bari, won the tender for the new prison in Oristano for an amount of € 40 million;

"Companies of trust administration", as was publicly stated by the representatives of the Government. But as you get the confidence of the State, especially when we are to build maximum security facilities? The group Anemone and history tell us how to build and weave it through years of trade relations between the state and enterprises. L'Unione Sarda, in an article in the February 17, 2010, calls it "a business miracle" takes place in five years to be allowed to work only within 5 million, to be able to support any type of work, directly or through satellite companies . In 2008, the budget closes with a profit of € 588 thousand, compared to 52 last year, is a candidate and get the construction of the conference center in La Maddalena, Sassari prison, and the new barracks of the Guardia di Finanza always Sassari , with two years of interruption of the work and the recent resumption of works.
Anemone, however, is also known to the courts for a number of real estate transactions that bind to key members of the Ministry of Infrastructure, in particular the former Minister Lunardi, which together with Castelli, signed Oct. 2, 2003 ministerial decree that requires special measures safety measures deemed urgent. In the network of relationships are also Angelo Balducci, jailed on charges of corruption for the G8 de La Maddalena, his time in charge of the SIIT with which they were handled through informal races which firms have been awarded the construction Prison sardines. To close the circle, Flavio Carboni, a mediator between politicians and businessmen engaged in three major areas of investment: the G8, wind and new prisons. All operations that scenario to Sardinia.
There is a second piece, an important but less visible: it is called sub-contracting (for Plan prisons it is possible to subcontract the work up to 50% of the value of work) and it affects small companies, but also highlights a mechanism that is an expression of political logic with which the state and its "trust companies" investing in Sardinia. The example is provided by the prison building in Oristano, left out by the investigations of the judiciary that, for now, to investigate only one of Sassari. The problem this time is economic (Nuova Sardegna, 16 May 2010) and regards the group of Bari Intini, who was awarded the contract and who would face a serious financial crisis. The difficulties have also involved other small companies, including a local level, through the system of subcontracting were making secondary structures.
In a nutshell: Contracts are considered urgent, maximum security, some form of contracts to companies deemed trusted, and therefore theoretically capable of completing the work assigned, and then it turns out that most of these works are given in subcontracting because the company is not capable of being supporter of the project. We get also the deputies of the Democratic Party in a parliamentary question that the February 2 state: "This means that the contract was initially given a sham, an empty box that was needed to confer rights of claim against the Administration, Box filled with content because those companies, those companies could not provide the work completed. "There is nothing new, basically, what we're telling, except that behind the interests of governments and businessmen, millionaires behind contracts and works never completed, there was a clear political will that not only responds to the interests of financial groups and politicians, but to a precise conception of the State in Sardinia to watch: make it a land of conquest in which to try and entrench a policy that bare a territory of its natural assets, annihilating the possibility of local investment. That's why the outsourcing is not a simple and now common business practice, but above all one of the best forms of legalized for allocating funding to outside companies and millionaires intertwined in power, and to give up the crumbs to small local firms. E 'which are based on this logic, the slogans that accompany each investment in Sardinia will move jobs, it will start the economy. But open economy should mean developing areas related to territory and administered by the subjects of that land, the remainder of model contracts for mega mega structures without social purposes (see structures for the G8 or large wind farms in a land already self- energy) only responds to a need: money to run, many, but the upper floors so that the few crumbs that fall from the table does not initiate any local economy because it would mean the end of a banquet too tasty to be left in the hands in the interests of the people of his land.
And build a prison, for example, 200 people today is to put around 15 million: € 75 000 per bed, not including costs for the expropriation of areas and, above all, without regard to theft and corruption. And as we can guess, this is not the case.
But investing in the construction of a prison, and represents an important opportunity for sharing of money and favors from businessmen and political elites, what does this mean? And above all, why in Sardinia?

Transformed into land of imprisonment

Sardinia is part of the many ways in the general framework of the Italian prison system inhabited by young males, many of them southern, unemployed and with low education, with a high component of foreigners and drug addicts. In prison, then ends up who does not have a stable job, who did not have access to training or at work or school, who for reasons of social marginality in the circuit ends of addiction or clandestinità.(3)
But the prison Sardinia is characterized by its special features that make this island not only a land of conquest, but also a place of incarceration.
From the historical point of view, the arrival of Sardinia is in prison in the eighteenth century, then the product of modernity, as it was in the wider European context. Yet something else happens: Do not start the first mercantile and then industrial economy, the emergence of the prison was linked to what was defined by the rulers of a plague endemic area: the banditry. But every political speech in order to better entrench also needs a scientific theoretical discourse apparently. And so, in the late nineteenth century, in the wake of Lombroso, face different personalities such as Alfred Nocifero, which in 1897 identified Sardinia as a "criminal area" for biological reasons. In short you are born and Sardinian delinquent at the same time.
Yesterday and today was not explained, however, that the poverty and misery that led, first to uprisings and revolts, banditry on the other, were the result of a colonial policy that the figures of the Savoy kings, and to follow in those Representatives of the State unit and the first democratic fascist and then they robbed the earth of its resources and cut those economic and social relations on which a society predominantly agro-pastoral and community character structure was consolidated. What will mature over the years will be a contrast in the eyes of the shepherd from Sardinia, the island's symbol of the company, including a Justice who was the instrument of a power that comes not from the structure of the community but outside the overlap, the power of the invaders , power of rulers, the power of a State which is not expressed by the original company but has its own characteristics .. different needs and its own tools of empire "(4): not by chance that the arrest was considered a disgrace, which opposed the community support to the family of the prisoner, the latter through the beautiful de sa ponidura practice, every pastor gave her a head of cattle to reconstitute a new flock whose theft was considered sacrilege.
Behind the slogans against banditry and those in favor of industrialization was therefore the aim of undermining both the understanding of the relationships within the community as his own conception of justice.
In a nutshell, was the conception that the Sardinians had the community and the relationship with the land that needed to undermine, not only to bayonets, but above all, with blows of industries that opened and closed, pastors are forced into poverty, land municipal lands became private local landlords.
And so, while the Savoy brought the concept of private property in a land accustomed to the design community, and while in the early years of the 900 followed each other strikes by miners and their organization in the labor movement, the prison system was completed which saw each provided the capital of their prison. This becomes especially with the Kingdom of Italy, the place where close "irregular", ie those who do not accept the laws of the State or new, impoverished, outside the law seek survival space. Just look at the dates of the construction of prisons sardines to realize how each one responds to a precise stage of adapting the system to the repressive political and social context: 1871 San Sebastian 1855 Good Way, 1850: penal colonies for forced labor; 1950 Nuoro, 1960 Is Arenas, 1970 Iglesias, 1980 Macomer.
And today those who are locked up behind bars?
A survey conducted between June and July of 2000 against the Second Board of the Regional Council on Civil Rights revealed a prison system characterized by "structures crumbling, unsanitary, lacking adequate space to the activities of rehabilitation and reintegration into society, no green spaces and local interviews, lack of diagnostic facilities, shortage of spaces for work activities and training in conclusion: the situation of the structures impede the implementation of the laws of prison reform and outlines the circumstances of the violation of civil rights. " Recent news stories and new inspections have not changed the picture painted here. To end up in prison sardines are mostly males between 25 and 40 years, most owners just graduated high school.
Yet some data confirms the suspicion that prisons sardines are a large container used to marginalize the products of government policy in Sardinia Sardinians are unemployed more of the Italian prisoners, drug addicts is 40.2% (important when taking into in mind that most of the robberies are linked to urban drug addiction) and between 30-39 years with a low educational level. 35% of suicides occur, then, prisons sardines.
According element(5): the perpetrators of the robberies were born to 50.7% in the province of Nuoro, 30.1% in that of Sassari, 3.4% in the area of Olbia-Tempio, 4.1% from the remaining areas .
Sardinia is a land of criminals? Lombroso, and others, would read as this data, not taking into account other important guinness that Sardinia has won the past two years: first place in the national ranking of the lack of labor by 16.1% in the unemployment rate in the first three months of 2010 and an increase of 0.7 compared to 2009, the youth unemployment rate in 2009 was 44.7%, with 11,500 laid off without welfare support and other shocks with 40 thousand INPS. But it is not only the field of employment to know these figures, according to Enzo Costa (CGIL) located in Sardinia at risk of social revolution "are the schools and education in general to be affected by a dropout of 15.2% 18.8% with a low employment associated with a high school dropout. "In a system that offers few job opportunities, the premature abandonment of school can lead to situations of illegal employment, underpaid no protection on the insurance and pension plan and, in other cases, situations of social emergency, the fertile ground of social deviance . Speak the Regional Agency for the work a dossier on the fate of the 2008(6) school which emphasizes "the characteristics that make Sardinia a unique case, which is not reflected throughout the national scene .. .. poor performance in terms school drop .. not the result of applying the criteria appropriate to the realities on the island. "And so the drop in the first year of high school are among the highest in the Italian school system (11.5 to 2006), a percentage below the average for young people hold the title of junior high school, and a high rate of repeating in high school. Those strange coincidences that weave the highest rates of unemployment, lack of education and training with a prison inmate who sees the Sardinian deviate slightly from this general framework of marginality and lack of alternative employment and social stability. It does not seem a coincidence that both the province of Nuoro to hold the highest rate of robberies, if we consider that this right has been, historically, the area where the state has implemented more vigorously its policy of struggle, first to banditry and the various forms of deviance.
It is the story that emerges: the degrees industries, chemical poles, the complex had to work alongside Ottana that the destruction of what was considered the natural fabric of banditry, and yet after many years has been very little in terms of employment and anti-marginalization, however much in terms of destruction of the social fabric and traditional production. You would think the failure of government policy in Sardinia, but perhaps it would be more correct to think of his victory: to transform the island into a land of conquest in which there may arise local economy and managed on the basis of needs and resources of these people.
There are still two blocks, however: 40-50%, in some cases 60% of detainees present in sardines from outside detention facilities, so as to define them by the same operators as "large containers used to reduce the population of the institutions of the North and Campania, from which the chronic state of collapse of the penitentiary system of the island. " Prisoners transferred from prisons overseas denounce as they themselves do not know, until you get done, that prison was where they went to Sardinia, and many of them, in fact, had requested, so the transfer, but approaching them in a prison place of residence of the family. Yet something does not come back in the practice of the prison administration and the so-called principle of territoriality of the sentence "which, starting from the theoretical right granted to prisoners to serve their sentences close to family," commits the Ministry of Justice to facilitate the return to institutions Sardinian prisoners of origin, residence or interest in Sardinia who aspire to such a return "is the Memorandum of Understanding with the Region of Sardinia was signed in 2006 between then-President Soru and Undersecretary of Justice Vitale.
In short, on the one hand there are the prisons full of prisoners in Sardinia Sardinia not want to be, on the other Sardinian prisoners confined overseas (about 250) to which the transfer is denied because of overcrowding in prisons island, this condition seems to be away then consequence of a policy that, beyond statements of intent, can not give up one of the basic purposes of the prison dispose of the prisoner and detached from any emotional connection with his land. It 's part of rehabilitation.
Do not forget that the family is affected in this vicious punishment, because the already difficult with the family separation distances and costs are added often unbridgeable: I think if you have the misfortune to be sent to Catanzaro, that is one of the farthest points for transit routes from Sardinia , your family will incur a cost of about € 400 for a two-hour interview. Reeducate has its price, you know.
Second piece: the policy comes into play, not the institutional-style, but what for the secret services of Sardinia is "a kind of modern political laboratory .. a land where we debate and discuss, a place [with a] high level of political culture "would seem to praise those that the magazine Gnosis, a magazine of Italian intelligence spending in an article in 2005(7) (non-random data when taking into account the number of arrests between 2004 and today separatists, anarchists and communists), but in reality are words that should be interpreted as a warning signal given to the State so that 'high level of political culture "does not come out dall'alveo party subservient to the interests of the Italian State.
Another strange relationship, then, what is established among a people that has a high degree of politicization (according to the same state) and at the same time has the highest number of prisons in proportion to population, as if each detachment that exists between state and people, for any potential awareness that can translate into political practice there was a prison that arise. Or rather, in our case, four.
The state has to justify his response to the need to build new prison facilities in Sardinia is called capacity exceeded tolerable, ie the number of people who, in spite of beds provided by the designers of the prison, they can be slipped into a cell leaving one meter of space between the bunk beds. In short, there is no room, enter each month from about 1,000 prisoners and one has to put them somewhere, to build security, certainly, but also to transform the criminal into a good citizen.
Yet the data and the evidence tell us that prisons do not need to re-integrate, the prison does not produce safety (recurrence rates are on the order of 60-70%), but why not change the initial conditions of marginality.
But the prison is the state for three main reasons:
prison is a huge economic business need to move money between big business and state, so that solid relationships of patronage.
The prison used to confine the deviant from the social pact to ensure that society will need to produce a sense of a repressive system, that divide society into good and bad, between thieves and workers, prostitutes and housewives.
The prison is an instrument of control as much land the company needed in a region such as Sardinia defined by the secret services a "political laboratory" in which, in spite of the general crisis of Italian extra-institutional movements, is still experimenting with forms of policy rooted in the territory and able to politicize this social malaise that discontent can get rabies, and from here to find an alternative odds with the logic of the state.
That's why four new prisons. That's why in Sardinia.


What has been and what will be

To fully understand the prison, we must take a step back in history to see how it is first and foremost a political institution, the result of a conception of society. In reading this brief look back will be helpful to keep in mind our present because we all know, history has shown that certain mechanisms return, they change as they preserve the essence.
The notion of prison as punishment not born in the years of the most cruel forms of punishment, which the Romans undergoing anyone who breaks the law at that time; the company even resorted to prison in the Middle Ages to crack down on crime. The first seeds of detention arise in connection with an important social place at the beginning of the fourteenth century: these were the years when war, famine, contraction of trade and the transformation of production relations and property, especially in the countryside, leading to a general impoverishment. There are the outcasts of society, the marginalized, yesterday today unemployed vagrants, drug addicts, illegal aliens. And so the modern era, with the emergence of the bourgeoisie and the strengthening of state guardian of social inequalities, relegated to the margins of the lumpen masses. This raises the need to intern, as well as in plague-ridden leper, the outcast in prisons. The list of crimes, however, a little 'as in the present, it should be added gradually, ranging from old forms of crime (violence against people and things) to treason to the blasphemies and heresies in conjunction with the emergence of power religious. Purpose: To tackle behaviors antagonists, opponents, contrary to obedience and conformity. Sure, we're talking about centuries past, but keep in mind this change of epoch and detention so that our society will recur, in tune with the times and in different contexts, the same adaptation of detention to social change. What is happening in fact is not so much the expansion of crime-related violence directed at people or things, as an expression of an act beyond the control of the state. The eighteenth century is the era in which the prison itself as an institution, in parallel with a political-economic-social: the rise of capitalism, ie a production model that required a large pool of labor willing to accept discipline and pace of work required by the production. The inmates of that era were the sons of a political upheaval that had crossed the whole of Europe and that Sardinia soon learned to know well: the privatized public lands, were limited to traditional grazing rights and civic use against the population rural areas, so they created the conditions for the formation of a huge mass of uprooted. The nineteenth century was but a further step in the consolidation of the production model of the capitalist system and liberal, with the centralization of production in urban situations, increasing the pockets of poverty and marginalization. But there is a change, this time among the weakest sectors of society: its continued presence in the factories supports the creation of workers' organizations and trade unions which encourage the social and political upheavals, causing fear and apprehension in the classroom detaining power. And here's another change of the penal system and, more importantly, the social imaginary: the protests and social workers, based on the desire for emancipation and freedom, were drawn to the eyes of the community as acts of deviance and crime. The guilt becomes introduce the transgression in the social fabric, a transgression that can not generalize. That's why political crimes, as today, are punished with high sentences, since they are among the most dangerous risk of generalization and for breach of the social contract. For this reason the times are getting longer detention, the prison because it reinforces the idea that changes the punishment reward the victim, but especially the company for the wrong suffered by serving as an example not just for the individual and the community. In the late nineteenth century, in fact, the need to reform the State Unitary door to reform the penal code with an important modification: decrease the penalties for offenses against property, the partial liberalization of the strike, but most are refined techniques filing of the suspects and the police is being reorganized. What is happening? It happens that the state reacts to the waves of demonstrations and struggles by giving unions a part, but exacerbating the fight against the revolutionary movements since the danger is represented by those who could trigger a political awareness on the misery and despair, turning them into factors of destabilization and subversion of liberal economic and political system.
In 1930, the Code Rocco sanctioned instruments against political and social opposition, inspired not by chance that the article 270 which is affecting the crime of "subversive association". It is this law, the daughter of a code of fascism, was shot in the 70s and later by Pisanu, making far the pin judiciary to prosecute instances of radical change.
The 80s and 90s (Gozzini Law, Law-Simeon Saracens), saw some changes in the criminal justice system with the partial opening of the alternative measures and recognition of certain rights, strong signs of the struggles of prisoners during the seventies, with the encounter between political prisoners behind bars and social exclusion.
What is important to note in this passage of the nineteenth century conception of punishment in the twentieth century, is that the prison is transformed into an institution designed to entrench in society the idea of the necessity of the State as guardian of stability, thus reinforcing an apparent link between "honest citizens" and the state, evoking safety, discipline, justice.

Laura Gargiulo


  1. Giuseppe Maria Reina, Secretary of State for Infrastructure and Transport answered the Parliamentary Donatella Ferranti, February 25, 2010, concerning the award of contracts for the construction of some prisons in Sardinia.
  2. To be concrete, we make an example from recent history: in 2002 the center-right raises the issue of privatization, with reference to "the great Chilean private prison model" Tinebra, then head of the EPD, said that the construction of the first nine prisons would be built with state funds made available by the Ministry of Infrastructure; for other resources were collected through Patrimonio SpA, funds from the sale of the old prisons. No private stepped forward, no old jail was abandoned. It was however made by Castelli and Tremonti Aedifica the Dike, the company came under the attention of judges as one of his advisers, Giuseppe Magni, former mayor League, was prosecuted for incitement to bribery and corruption: he boasted to decide the winners of the competitions procedure. The second was defined by the newspapers tangentopoli prison. The first dates back to the 80s and went to history as "the scandal of the prisons of gold."
  3. Data from the Ministry of Justice and the Department of Prison Administration:
    - (2010 data) 67,593 prisoners against the present 44,000 allowed;
    - (2009 data) 52.2% is awaiting trial, of which 40% is paid;
    - (2009 data) 36% are foreigners, many of them in for drug related crimes legislation or underground;
    - (2009 data) 26.8% is a drug addict;
    - 36 out of 100 prisoners suffering from forms of mental illness;
    - 1 to 2 is held occasionally subjected to treatment with psychotropic drugs;
    - Most of those crimes are against property, then for drugs;
    - The average profile of a prisoner: unmarried have a low level of education, most licensed middle school, and a very low percentage of prisoners in possession of a degree;
    - The rate of recidivism of those who benefited from the alternative sentences to imprisonment is 5%, while those who have served the entire sentence in prison has a recurrence by 66%;
    - (2010 data) 173 deaths of which 66 by suicide
  4. Gonario Pinna, Il pastore sardo e la giustizia.
  5. La criminalità in Sardegna. Primo rapporto di ricerca, edizioni Unidata 2006.
  6. Early school leaving in Sardinia. Analysis of some statistical indicators. Analysis published in the journal of the Regional Congiuntura Lavoro Sardegna, September 2008.
  7. Sardinia political laboratory, Gnosis n.2/2005 (http://www.sisde.it/gnosis/Rivista3.nsf/servnavig/7).

translation Enrico Massetti