Possibility of Covid-19 infection has led to house arrest of some high-risk prisoners
The coronavirus outbreak has led to some decision-making by some governments as far as prisons are concerned, namely the release of some detainees. In Italy, for example, and where Covid-19 killed more than 30,000 people, the government issued a house arrest order for several hundred people, some of whom belonged to the mafia, something that now worries citizens, as reports the New York Times.
Last week, 376 prisoners were transferred from their high security prison cells to house arrest and at a time when the coronavirus is in the news all over the world, it was the homecoming of some of the great figures convicted of organized crime that made the news front page.
This measure did not generate well-being within the Italian government itself, both from the opposition and members of the majority, who believed that mobsters were using this pandemic as a means of getting out of prison. In fact, according to them, the return of the mobsters to their homes was a “clear sign that Italy was relaxing in its fight against organized crime”.
“The mafia feeds on signals. Allowing a mafia boss to return to his territory is a message of withdrawal, of weakness, something that the mafia can exploit,” said Giancarlo Caselli, one of the most famous anti-mafia prosecutors in Italy.
Three mafiosi outings caused surprise
Among the 376 detainees now under house arrest are three who were under maximum security measures: Francesco Bonura, 78, head of the Cosa Nostra in Sicily; Vincenzino Iannazzo, 65, leader of Ndrangheta of Calabria; and Pasquale Zagaria, 60, a member of the Neapolitan camorra. Their return home, however, was not peaceful, mainly because they were already in isolation regiment inside the respective prisons.
“If they were isolated they would not catch the coronavirus, as they were inaccessible. They had no contact with the family, lawyers. They only showed themselves behind bulletproof glass, their health was absolutely safe,” said Lirio Abbate, anti-mafia activist who writes for L´Espresso magazine.