Letter from Minister Andrea Orlando, Minister of Justice, Italy
Sent to the President of the COPE network, Lucy Gampell, at COPE’s annual conference co-organised and hosted by the Ombudsman for Children in Zagreb, Croatia, which took place on 20 May 2016
Children with a parent in conflict with the law: What are their best interests? How can they be met?
19 May 2016
Croatian officials, distinguished guests and participants,
National commitments mean that I need to be in Italy and am unable to be present at your important international conference in Zagreb.
The Memorandum of Understanding, signed by the Italian Ministry of Justice, Children’s Ombudsman’s Office and Bambinisenzasbarre, alongside important and fundamental principles on rights, demands clear, strict rules for prisons that lead to important and visible outcomes.
Italy, thanks to the national Prison Administration and Bambinisenzasbarre, now undertakes continuous monitoring under the Protocol and the results are more than satisfactory. Over the past 2 years, new visits rooms and spaces for children have been set up in 95% of Italian prisons. More specifically, we have created new children’s play areas and outdoor green spaces, introduced additional Sunday visits; improved booking arrangements and better communication between prisoners and their children. All of this confirms that we are on the right track.
Over the coming days, the Memorandum of Understanding will be renewed and we will consolidate our attention on children. We will be analysing the outcomes reached so far, but clear analysis of what remains outstanding is necessary so that the rights of children with a parent in prison can be fully met, as is stipulated under international charters and the Italian Constitution.
I wish you all well in your good work,