november 2007 - february 2008




The recent demonstration in L'Aquila on June 3, contributed to inform and create a debate (most of all between militants) about detention under the conditions of the paragraph 41bis from the penitentiary code. We think that the first element which contributed to build a debate is the concrete demonstration. It created a deep comparison between the comrades, not only during the preparation of the day, but also outside it.

This comparison was born from the concrete needing of contrasting the state aggressions in each of its forms. From the unending criminalizing (which legitimates the great legislative "anti- terrorist" arms), to the consequential reform of the penitentiary system (individualised treatment, differences between prisoners, bigger power to the penitentiary direction and to the warders) that wants to increase the violent, terrorist and separating action.

The effort to generalize the contents is coherent with the attention of our editing towards repression and prison, considering them parts of capitalism. Through this perspective we look at the defence of the identity of our comrades in prison, in order to relaunch class solidarity in the fight against prisons, isolation, differentiation and their adaptations outside the jail.

We publish in this number a contribute about a probable exarbation of the penitentiary conditions of the paragraph 41bis and about the expansion of its application. We find this will in the latest declarations of the actual minister of justice. A deeper analysis is deferred to future reflections.


About the audition of the minister of justice Clemente Mastella in the parliamentary commission about "organised criminality of the Mafia or similar"- 05/03/2007


"First of all, the during of the special detention could be usefully led to three years that could be extended for a during not inferior to two years".


Now the measure can last not less than one year and no more than two. It can be extended in the same forms for the successive periods year by year.


"...the special detention can be applied where other conditions need it, for the authors of the crimes provided by the paragraph 41bis 'also where these crimes do not constitute a claim of actual detention".


This can mean that even if you finished to serve a condemnation for "association of the Mafia", "terrorist or subversive association" (the paragraph 41bis is provided for that), this treatment can be also applied during future detentions. Also if the "crimes" formally do not provide for the special detention. This preventive characteristic is said in the next paragraph:


"Authoritative opinions have recently sustained the advisability of adapting the structure of the special detention to its preventive aim, in order to contrast the links among people condemned for crimes provided by the paragraph 41bis and criminal associations: of the Mafia, terrorist or subversive ones. According to these opinions, it should be normatively expressed the particular nature of a "preventive detention", based on the need of preventing crimes throughout the suspension of the ordinary treatment for authors of crimes provided by the paragraph 41bis. For them it is necessary to prevent the links with a Mafia, terrorist or subversive association".


"...the reformed regulations could even free the measure from the needing of controlling the  topicality of the external links, fixing the requirements about the dangerousness of the subject, deducible from a series of indications...".


Here we reproduce some of them:


"b) in current investigations about the criminal group;

h) in the contacts with the people who have been accepted for the talk with other subjects who belong to the same criminal group;

k) in extraordinary talks.

The inapplicability or the no renewal of the 41bis conditions, according to this setting, can  happen only with the presence of specific and concrete elements able to convince about the cessations of the social danger of the prisoner and of his capacity to have links with the extern".


Agreeing with the essence of the measure, that is to led the prisoner to repudiate himself becoming a "justice collaborator", in this extract it is better explained the arbitrary and discretionary character of the decision of applying the paragraph 41bis.


"It is also necessary the introduction, lastly required by the National Anti- Mafia Direction, of a sanction for everybody who has behaviours in order to build or save links between a prisoner under the conditions of 41bis and external circles. So, in this case the accuses of personal assistance or procured inobservance of the condemnation are inapplicable to the prisoner or to his relatives".


It is an explicit attack both against solidarity and against loved people in order to criminalize both of them.


"another problem which can be solved in a reformation perspective is to avoid the topical possibility of a judiciary intervention to change the contents of the adopted measures. The complaint has to deal only about the legitimacy of  the application measure, that is the tribunal could accept or refuse- if it is necessary, reaching a total annulment- but it could not change the measure, augmenting, for instance, the number of talks, the sociality hours or the number of packages".


It is equal to perpetuating the treatment of the 41bis and eliminate the possibility of making a complaint to change the treatment to which you are subjected.


"According to the discipline in force about penitentiary benefits for the collaborators of justice, for the prisoners subjected to the paragraph 41bis the competence could be individuated in the Tribunal of Surveillance in the place where the headquarters of the Ministry of Justice are. Because it is the authority which emitted  the measure subjected to the complaint.

If the competence would be only assigned to the Tribunal of Surveillance at the Court of Appeal of Rome, augmenting, where necessary, the personnel, it would be assured the uniformity in the application of the measure...".


That highlights the decennial will of the state to institute a special tribunal, like during the twenty years of fascism. It would be a tribunal independent from the will of the Government.


Fighting against the paragraph 41 bis has the meaning of obstructing isolation and the breaking up system based on prize and punishment and its external projection to intimidate and terrorize. In this way we relaunch the class solidarity, that is the first requirement for united struggles, both outside and inside the prisons.


This is the meaning of the struggle at the prison of L' Aquila, which is emblematic for the application of the paragraph 41 bis.


OLGa- Milan - Italy


To study in depth:

- Complete text of the audition of 05/03/07 of the minister of justice Clemente Mastella in the parliamentary commission on the "enquiry about the organized criminality of the Mafia or similar"; (

- The hard prison is growing longer (from; (