On April 5, 2014 Domenic Rancadore was extradited back to Italy from the UK to complete his outstanding sentence of seven years imprisonment to serve, for his ties in a mafia association between 1987 and 1995 in Palmero Sicily. Rancandore had been found guilty, in 1998, of mafia criminal association and acts, which included kickbacks from government contracts, and was sentenced to nine years imprisonment. On appeal the sentence was reduced to seven years. However, due to Rancadore’s heart condition and old age, and the prison conditions in Italy, extradition was found to be incompatible with Rancadore’s rights. Under article 3 and 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) within the meaning of the U.K. Human Rights Act 1998, the overcrowding in Italy’s prisons posed a problem to Rancadore, and many other similarly situated individuals. The Court cited Torreggiani and others v. Italy (8th January 2013) as evidence of the overcrowding of the prisons and how steps must be taken in order to ameliorate the issue.
As a result, Rancadore has had the opportunity to remain a free man, however, he has remained in Italian custody in conditions compliant with article 3 and 8 of the ECHR. These issues of prison overcrowding and terrible prison conditions are a common problem throughout the world. With the United States as the main offender, it begs the question as how is the world going to address this problem while protecting those who victims of crimes and those who would fall victim to crime? Is this an issue of using more tax payer funds to build bigger and better facilities to properly house inmates, or should countries decriminalize certain crimes in order to reduce the amount of people in jail?
When the world is too busy putting low level criminals in jail, overcrowding prisons and making conditions worse than they need to be, it allows for criminals that have a lot of clout and control bigger criminal enterprises to get around the legal system. There must be a better system and better laws to punish those actually in control of the criminal enterprises and to help remediate those who are just pawns in an even bigger scheme. Punishing low level offenders provides no deterrent impact and only clogs up our courts and prisons, and a better more effective way to punish those with actual power must be in place.
What do you think? How should courts address the overcrowding issue? Should the United States be held liable for human rights violations that prohibit prison overcrowding? What international authority would have jurisdiction over this issue?
Source: The Guardian
As Mr. Pedraza pointed out, prison overcrowding is a serious issue, seen all over the globe. I believe this issue stems from the fact that so many prison systems ignore the rehabilitation aspect of imprisonment, contributing to high recidivism rates. Additionally, many offenders of petty crimes are being heavily punished. The fact that Domenic Rancadore was released early because of the effect of prison conditions on his health condition is a red flag to those all around the world.
The fact of the matter is, generally, citizens do not wish to see their taxpayer’s dollars go to the prison system. For so many, the mentality is to keep these convicted inmates out of sight and out of mind. However, the reality is a very large number of these inmates are eventually going to be released back into society, aggravated from the treatment they received based off of their prison conditions. Would you want such an angered, scored person back into your neighborhood? It is a circular problem that needs to be addressed.