41-bis prison regime (Italy): Leave no one behind during COVID-19

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Purpose – This paper aims to provide an overview of the Italian Ministry of Justice response to COVID-19
in Italian prisons, with particular focus on the conditions of super-maximum security (supermax)
Design/methodology/approach – The paper is presented in the form of viewpoint and involves the
reconciliation of peer-reviewed publications, technical documents and experts’ opinions.
Findings – The paper poses critical challenges on the risk of social inequalities and substandard of care
for supermax prisoners.
Research limitations/implications – Because the COVID-19 emergency represents an evolving
situation, the research describes an instantaneous scenario of the problem, possibly subjected to further
Practical implications – The paper rises relevant challenges in terms of equalities and human rights,
which should be considered by policymakers.
Social implications – The research highlights the importance of the health protection for supermax
prisoners during COVID-19 as it is a State responsibility.
Originality/value – To the best of the authors’ knowledge, the paper contributes to the development of
subsequent studies on the topic owing to its unique knowledge that was so far not available from previous
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Prisoner Health
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2020

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