Italy Passes Law Facilitating the Arrest of Children as Young as 14

The Italian government has recently approved a law aimed at curbing juvenile crime, particularly in response to high-profile cases involving teen gangs. The law, named after the crime-infested suburb of Caivano in Naples, grants authorities the power to arrest and imprison children as young as 14, especially in cases that involve weapons or drugs. Additionally, the law allows for up to two years of imprisonment for parents of school truants. While the Prime Minster emphasised the preventive nature of these measures, critics argue that the focus seems predominantly repressive, overlooking the importance of prevention.

The law expands the circumstances under which minors can be detained before trial, lowering the threshold from nine to six years, and making pre-trial custody more feasible for less serious offences. Alongside arrest powers, authorities can also confiscate mobile phones from juvenile criminals and restrict their access to specific areas. Despite the government’s emphasis on deterring young individuals from criminal activities, there are concerns about striking a balance between repression and prevention. Some, including the political opposition leader, have highlighted the need for comprehensive prevention strategies to address the root causes of juvenile crime.


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