Lives on the Edge

Living Conditions in Prison and the Need to Respect Human Dignity Even in the Execution of Punishment

  • Francesca Piergentili Department of Ancient and Modern Civilizations- University of Messina


This paper analyses the current living conditions of inmates held in Italian penitentiaries, by attempting to highlight the main issues and struggles of both convicts and those who work in correctional institutions; it also deals with the issue concerning the requests of assisted suicide in prison. Imprisonment, as well-known, deeply affects the life of an inmate who is deprived of his individual freedom. Despite the “pain” the sentence inflicts, respect for the prisoner’s human dignity should always be ensured. Such respect for one’s dignity, despite falls and vulnerabilities, should guide all penal processes and, in particular, when passing a penal sentence. The pandemic, however, has increased the pre-existing inequalities and problems, (including those social) of lives in penitentiaries; thus not only implementing legislative measures, has become ever more imperative, in order to ensure the provision under Art. 27, sub. 3, of the Constitution and respect the dignity of inmates, which cannot be undermined, not even by a penal sentence.

Keywords: Inmates   - Prison – Suicide - Dignity - Fundamental rights


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How to Cite
Piergentili, F. (2022). Lives on the Edge. Critical Hermeneutics, 6(1), 205-214.