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Information management to prevent radical escalation

Target Audience
Prison / probation
key themes association
Judiciary and law enforcementPrison and probation
Peer Reviewed practice


The Penitentiary Administration, part of the Ministry of Justice.

Type of Organisation: Governmental institution

Project description

This Italian approach combines three parallel elements: (1) security and (2) rehabilitation, framed under the (3) rule of law (represented by surveillance judges and courts). Respect for the various duties, responsibilities and functions of the penitentiary police as well as those of the rehabilitation bodies (educators, psychologists, experts, etc.) under the supervision of surveillance judges, grants an appropriate level of independency, equality, proportionality and complementarity to counter-radicalisation policies. This limits — as far as possible — administrative decisions on matters concerning the rights of inmates and their equality before the law, regardless of their professed religion, faith or ideology.

To ensure information gathered within Italian prisons is analysed efficiently, a Central Unit for Investigations (Nucleo Investigativo Centrale (NIC)) within the Ministry of Justice, Department for Prison Administration, Office of the Head of the Department, has the task of centralising all information collected from local branches, and analysing it in relation to particularly serious crimes such as organised crime, international and domestic terrorism and any threat to public security.

The monitoring is based on three levels of classification: (1) High (monitoring); (2) Medium (attenzionamento (from the Italian word for 'attention')); and (3) Low (reporting).

The NIC analysis on the radical and terrorist subjects, shared with the National Prosecutor Office to Counter Mafia and Terrorism and the General Direction for Treatment, is then given to the Committee of Counter Terrorism Strategic Analysis (CASA). CASA was established in 2004 by a Decree from the Ministry of Interior as part of the National Plan to Counter Terrorism, within the framework of the Crisis Unit (Decree 83/2002). The Committee brings together all four law enforcement agencies (LEAs) and the intelligence services (in particular DIS, the departments of internal and external security (AISI and AISE, respectively)) under the premises of the Central Office of Preventive Police (Ministry of Interior).

The group meets on a weekly basis to share information and analyse data before composing specific and detailed risk analyses. Combined with the NIC's investigative efforts, this analysis centre makes it possible to match information from within Italy with information coming from other sources and countries, and to provide LEAs with an appropriate level of information at local level.

The following principles are central to the monitoring activities carried out by Italian authorities for radical inmates. The flow of behavioural, non-forensic and non-judiciary information is kept separate from the treatment element: the two elements are complementary but do not influence each other, because all prisoners are equal before the law and have the right to access the same services. In line with L.354/75, only surveillance judges (i.e. not LEAs or intelligence services) can approve and modify rehabilitation programmes.

To this end, data from monitoring are only gathered, used and shared with a preventive aim and from a security perspective.

The monitoring cover not only critical events, but also the inmates' daily routines, including fixed and codified procedures. Information and output from central analysis (by NIC or CASA) does not flow back to local level, unless there is a request for closer monitoring.

All penitentiary staff have a duty to provide information concerning radical phenomena (non-forensic and non-judiciary data) from the prisons to the prison director, who conveys the information to the competent central offices. Conversely, information concerning potential crimes (forensic and judiciary information that forms the basis for investigations) is transmitted by the judiciary police department of the penitentiary police to the competent judiciary authorities.

To conclude, the system rests on an accurate understanding of the interplay of different pieces of information from various information sources, within the framework of the Italian constitutional architecture. It is also crucial to balance fundamental rights with security by respecting different roles and competences.


Several procedures are in place to ensure coherence and consistency in the management of information:

D.1 ‘Situation Room’:

Created in 2003, this room is a cyber link, also in form of an application, connecting the periphery and the centre, with the main aim of registering all critical events. These include non-forensic and non-judiciary data coming from prison observation, as well as information received from the local penitentiary institutions, which are conveyed and analysed in real time at central level. As events have evolved, a special category has been created for critical events linked to proselytism and radicalisation.

D.2 Modification of Indicators:

Thanks to GDAP 0248805/2016, the Department of Prison Administration simplified its previous system based on classical 'indicators of radicalisation' as foreseen in the old EU 'Manual on Violent Radicalisation'. The new strategy focuses mostly on two main indicators: 'change' and 'isolation', and requires the proactive participation of all prison staff (GDAP 385582/2015).

D.3 Integration of observation with ICT Tools:

Periodic behavioural reports for inmates under the radicalisation radar are managed through system SIAP/AFIS 2.0. They connect local and central levels. Requests concerning inmates' classification levels from external administration (DIGOS, ROS, etc.) need to be authorised by the Judiciary Authority, but are also available through the backdoor of SIDET WEB 2, available for both the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Interior.

D.4 Training

An online training platform, jointly developed by the Italian, Latvian and Romanian Ministries of Justice, in cooperation with Hochschule für den öffentlichen Dienst in Bayern, Guardia Civil, Spain, and Agenfor International, is available to train all staff on different aspects of radical phenomena within prisons and probation. The LMS contains seven modules for blended delivery and a complete manual.

Contact details


Ufficio ispettivo e del controllo
Dipartimento Amministrazione Penitenziaria

Ufficio ispettivo e del controllo,
Telephone: (+39) (0) 666592336/7

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Information management to prevent radical escalation
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