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December 2013
Italian Psychiatric Association

“The Italian Psychiatric Association and the systemic shift beyond criminal mental hospitals”

In response to the new regulations concerning the systemic shift beyond criminal mental hospitals in Italy, the Italian Psychiatric Association has been deeply involved in an information and lobbying campaign with the aim of smoothing the transition of inpatients from criminal mental hospitals to “Mental Health Departments”, referral mental health structures in their home regions that were born out of reform law n.180 in 1978. More than 800 inpatients – many of whom with very serious psychopathologic problems and personal correctional histories deriving from violent and socially dangerous behavior, often requiring treatment alongside mental health care over long periods of time currently reside in the “closed” facilities that the Italian state has decided to shut down and are waiting to be transferred to alternative facilities. The IAP also denounced the lack of psychiatric assistance in the Italian prison system, where many of the inpatients currently housed in criminal mental hospitals will end up in. “We are facing an increasing demand for intervention and, obviously, for resources towards the therapy of mental disorders in prison and in prisonterritory paths”, said IAP presidents Claudio Mencacci and Emilio Sacchetti.

The action plan is the following:

-Rehabilitation of patients previously residing in criminal mental hospitals through regionalization of facilities and onterritory care when possible;

-Enhancement of mental health protection in judicial facilities by completing the transition of correctional medicine to regional mental health system;

-Fast and full completion of facilities aimed at replacing criminal mental hospitals;

-Empowerment of Mental Health Departments, especially in times of economic and social hardship that trigger an even greater demand for help in the field.


Massimo Clerici

President, Section “Regione Lombardia” of the Italian Psychiatric Association

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