Valentina Ottone

COVID-19 and Prison Overcrowding

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The epidemic of COVID-19 has affected the institutional and political systems of European states, in particularly the Italian one. The penitentiary system, as well as other institutional structures, had to deal with this crisis in addition to the chronic problem of overcrowding. This article investigates, based on the choices of the actors, whether the pandemic has influenced their behavior enough to initiate a lasting process of political change in relation to the solution of the prison problem. Although this analysis has some limitations due to the impossibility of analyzing the overall effects of the pandemic. This research aims to integrate the literature on prison policies that, widely investigated from the socio-psychological and legal-criminal point of view, are little studied from the political point of view.


  • COVID-19
  • Overcrowding
  • Penitentiary
  • Italian prisons


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