Italian Journal of Criminology

The official journal of the Italian Society of Criminology

by Nicola Petruzzelli, Biagio Solarino, Isabella Berlingerio, Davide Lonigro, Ignazio Grattagliano

According to estimates from Dossier Statistico Immigrazione Caritas Migrantes, as well as data from Istat (Italy’s National Institute of Statistics) and from the Italian Minister of the Interior, there were 491,000 juvenile foreigners in Italy at the beginning of 2005. Foreigners who also happen to be minors face a two-fold problem: because of the fact that they are adolescents they can experience problems assimilating into society and tensions are often created between them and their adopted society. Conflicts can arise as to which origin culture they should have an allegiance to. And because they are youths, they must also deal with the typical problems associated with adolescence (i.e. internal conflicts, peer pressure, self-identity, etc.). The result of being both a foreigner and juvenile often puts them in the situation of having less security and fewer rights than their Italian counterparts. The purpose of this work is to look into this situation by furnishing data related to the conditions into which minors in the world of the justice system are subjected, with particular emphasis on foreign juveniles. Analysis of data shows an increase in the number of admissions of foreign juveniles into juvenile detention centres as well as an increase in the percentage of sentences against foreign juveniles. Analysis of other data shows that when foreign juveniles meet up with the law, they have a higher probability of being placed in a detention facility than an Italian of the same age. In light of this situation, the authors maintain that there exist forms of inequality and discriminatory behaviours which ought to be avoided with respect to foreign juveniles. These youths should be placed into appropriate circumstances and treated in the same manner as their Italian counterparts. The data show that some changes have already been made, especially with regard to the taking advantage of alternative measures of detention. The justice system must avoid the risk of having dual legal and penal codes for foreigners and nationals which result in the unequal treatment of the two groups.


Direttore dell'Istituto Penale per i Minorenni “N. Fornelli”, Bari
Nicola Petruzzelli
Medico Legale, Sezione di Medicina legale Di.M.I.M.P. Università degli Studi di Bari
Biagio Solarino
Psicologa, Master in Criminologia, Sezione di Criminologia Di.M.I.M.P., Università degli Studi di Bari
Isabella Berlingerio
Specializzando in Medicina legale, Sezione di Medicina legale Di.M.I.M.P., Università degli Studi di Bari
Davide Lonigro
Psicologo, Psicoterapeuta, Specialista in Criminologia Clinica, Sezione di Criminologia Di.M.I.M.P., Università degli Studi di Bari
Ignazio Grattagliano
Contacts: Ignazio Grattagliano - Sezione di Criminologia e Psichiatria forense, Di.M.I.M.P., Università degli Studi di Bari, p.zza Giulio Cesare 14, 70124 - Bari - tel. 080/5478282, fax 080/5478248, e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

From: Rassegna Italiana di Criminologia n. 2/2007



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