Monday, March 07, 2016

Knox’s Nasty-Prisons Hoax: NY Times Describes How Italy Leads The World In Rehabilitation

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

A classy restaurant in an Italian prison which inmates in training fully run

1. The Knox Picture Of Italian Prison Conditions

Three years ago Amanda Knox devoted 200 pages of her book to an extended horror story about her stay in prison.

Knox provided zero proof. Knox has never published her charges in Italian in Italy, so the rebuttals by those Knox maligned are not (yet) in.

But almost immediately English-language corrections and rebuttals started to flow.  See also all these rebuttals here.

Knox was contradicted by her own lawyers who had visited her often and heard no complaints. She was contradicted by the US Embassy in Rome which monitored her often and heard no complaints. She was contradicted by Rocco Girlanda, an Italian Member of Parliament, who checked her conditions over 20 times (and then wrote a loving book) and reported no complaints. Her own parents reported no complaints.

Even so, one year ago, Knox reissued her notoriously dishonest book. It had been added-to, but not even one of the malicious claims was withdrawn.

Our main poster Chimera highlighted the lies throughout the entire book (over 400) and Posts #3 to #9 here are devoted to Knox’s prison lies.

2. The Real Picture Of Italian Prison Conditions

The Italian prison system was historically always very humane - bathrooms and sometimes kitchens attached to cells; TV in all cells; walk-around rights during the day; numerous group activities such as concerts and games; hair-dressing for women and even massage; and skills training for inmates in an occupation of their choice (Guede and Sollecito both completed degrees).

Around five years ago, largely because of immigrant crimes, the prison population (previously below 100,000 - in the US, California prisons alone hold almost twice that) began to balloon.

New prisons were built, with no expenses spared, and in these images you can see the result.

Stories of extreme over-crowding have gone away, and the New York Times profiles the new prisons and their programs of today.

For years, Italy has struggled with its prison system, as well as how to balance punishment with rehabilitation. Overcrowding had become such a problem that in January 2013 the European Court of Human Rights ordered the country to fix the system. [Actually the ECHR cannot “order” anything, and anyway the building program was already well under way.]

Italian lawmakers responded with more alternative measures for minor crimes. In 2014, Italy also repealed harsh drug sentencing laws enacted during the 1990s, similar to the “three strikes” laws in the United States. In 2014, Italy began releasing 10,000 inmates (of roughly 60,000) who had been convicted of minor offenses.

But the issue of how best to rehabilitate offenders “” and lower the recidivism rate “” remained difficult. Italy has long allowed inmates in medium-security prisons to move around the facilities during the day.

“The main problem has been that they do little during the day, which doesn’t help them at the present, nor for their future outside prisons,” said Alessio Scandurra, who works for Antigone, a nonprofit group focused on the rights of detainees.

The Bollate prison was at the vanguard of experimentation even before opening the restaurant. Under the director, Massimo Parisi, the prison offers an array of programs. Companies have work programs on prison grounds. Volunteers teach theater and painting. Carpentry skills are taught in workshops equipped with power drills and saws. Inmates maintain a stable of horses in the prison yard.

There is also an initiative involving a carefully vetted group of 200 inmates who are allowed to leave each day for jobs with an outside firm. Inmates travel without supervision on public transportation; they must check in upon arrival at work, and at other points during the day.

Mr. Parisi said only one inmate had failed to return at the appointed time, and he showed up a few days later.

The Times reporter follows this with what has to be a global first - a topnotch restaurant run by inmates right inside one jail.


We have had vocational rehabilitation programs in the US. I don’t have statistics but my impression is funds for such programs have been cut over the years. I wish there were a baseline for how prisoners are treated. I can’t see it happening.

Posted by JohnQ on 03/10/16 at 10:52 PM | #

The classic philosophy is that the criminals are attracted to crime because of poverty, unemployment (related to poverty), social stress and similar circumstances over which they have no control. The fundamental assumption is that if the said criminals are given a decent opportunity, they will return to the mainstream (whatever that may mean) social system and contribute to the society at large in their own ways. I do not believe either of these assumptions are valid today (they would perhaps been valid in the middle ages; knoxophiles keep on using this compound word: middle ages) where much of the crimes that plague the modern society are of a different genre.

There are no evidences that support that Knox+Sollecito pair got reformed (whatever that may mean) during their brief stay - at least RG sat for some examination and passed in his studies - a certain achievement considering the kind of company he was keeping outside the prison walls.

Posted by chami on 03/13/16 at 07:19 AM | #

Hi Chami

Interesting comment. SeekingUnderstanding has suggested that such mental rebuilding can take very long timespans. Their both having fanclubs which they could communicate with looks to me hardly helpful.

Here’s an article on some of PM Renzi’s reforms still awaiting execution. NO country really does much better (nor the EC) in the absence of the right kind of knowhow we quite often discuss here.

He’s right (though the article seems to doubt it) the EC is a vast and domineering slower of systems change. Any real change there is totally exhausting and so reformers only tackle things around the edges.

Plus the Euro handicaps all but the successful core. 

I am getting some moving emails from the UK on the possibility of it leaving the EC (the Brexit) and what its prospects could be then. If it goes about things intelligently and runs processes it could do just fine.

Should Italy also disengage from the EC? I think it could be better off doing so. Set new goals with widespread popular participation and it would be off on a wild ride.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/13/16 at 11:15 PM | #

Thanks “TJMK Posters” for focusing on “Rehabilitation” in Italy.

The COTUS 8th Amendment, from the English Bill of Rights (1689), implicitly recognize Punishment as an established legal purpose of the Criminal Law.

“Reform”, and “Deterrence” are presumed legal policies.

Capital Punishment unarguably-deters those submitted to it e.g. T.Bundy, for whom Mother Nature reserved a special place.

Posted by Cardiol MD on 03/14/16 at 08:27 AM | #

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