Italian Policy on Youth crime


The number of offences/crimes committed by juveniles, reported over the last 3 years (2011-2013) has substantially remained stable, with a minimum decrease, on average, by 0,4

Relevant legislation:

Decree of the President of Republic n. 448 of 22 September 1988 Approval of provision on the criminal procedures applicable to juvenile offenders, that represents the main national legal instrument related to juvenile justice. It has created a Juvenile Procedure Code that must be, however,  integrated with the provisions of the Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code. This code is based on the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration on Justice (The Beijing Rules), adopted in November 1985 and is aimed at protecting the rights and interests of  juveniles involving in judicial proceedings. The structure of criminal justice juvenile proceedings balances the young offenders re-education and the State interest in punishing  behaviors that break the law.;448!vig

Legislative decree n. 272 of 28 July 1989 Carrying out rules of Juvenile Procedure Code, that regulates the fulfillment of D.P.R. 448/88  and, in general,  the organization of the Italian juvenile justice system.;272!vig

Decree of the President of Republic n. 447 of  22 september 1988 Approval of  Criminal Procedure Code, that has reformed the previous code of criminal procedure of age. It comprises the systematic collection of the rules setting the judicial  proceedings for adults.;447

Italian Penal Code of 19 October 1930, that is the organic body of Italian criminal disposals.

Law n. 354 of 26 July 1975  Rules on penitentiary system and on the execution of measures depriving or limiting liberty and Decree of President of Republic n.230 of 30 June 2000 Rules on penitentiary system and measures depriving and limiting liberty: they state all the rules that discipline the Italian detention and imprisonment centres (both, jails for juveniles and jails for adults) and their organization.;354!vig

Law decree n. 92 of 26 June 2014 Urgent disposals about refund measures in favor of detained and imprisoned people who have been subjected to violation of art. 3 of European Convention on the safeguard of human rights and fundamental liberties, as well as about modifications of Criminal Procedure Code and its fulfillment disposals, of warder officers organization and penitentiary system, also the juvenile one:  it broadens the take on responsibility of youngsters followed by the Juvenile Social Services (Uffici di Servizio Sociale per Minorenni) from 21 till 25 five y.o. for the implementation of the alternative sentences to detention that laws 354/75 and 230/2000 call for (placement under the supervision of social services, home detention, semi-custody, early release, conditional release).

Furthermore, consequential to this new law, young adults (giovani adulti), aged from 21 to 25, who until now were detained in adult prisons, from now on theyll enter into  juvenile jails (Istituti Penali per Minorenni).

Policy activity:

The current italian juvenile justice system has incorporated most of the international standards and norms related to juvenile justice. It is based on principles which differ from those of the general criminal justice system : proportionality, least harm, de-stigmatisation, deprivation of liberty applied as a measure of last resort, selection of the criminal proceedings.

 The composition of the Juvenile Courts (where we have professional judges with specialised knowledge  and  lay judges chosen among experts in children-related fields) respects the balance between satisfying the need to assess the seriousness of crime and its conseguences and the need to understand the personality of the child and his/her educational needs. Public Prosecutors working at Juvenile Courts are also specialized in children related issues. Police Officers too, who support the activity of the Juvenile Courts, are specialized.

The provision covering the appointment of a special legal representative play an important role in the protection of childrens right and interests.

The services of the juvenile justice system are the Social Services for Children, reception centers, Penal Institutes for Children and educational communities. These institutions must guarantee the protection of the rights of the child, such as the rights to health, education, to physical and psychological development, to maintain ties with their parents and family.

In all these services social workers, educators, psychologists, all high specialized in children related fields, work in team to follow and support the

child/young offender throughout the entire proceedings, to promote and protect the  childs rights above named, through personalized projects that include school activities, cultural, sports, recreational and voluntary work activities and vocational trainings, also with the collaboration of school teachers, doctors and specialized prison wardens. 

The aim of the educational and re-socializing project is to promote the maturity and personal development of the children,  helping them to became more responsible and reliable.

The professionals involved with the children follow their behavior during  the execution of  pre-trial measures and alternative measures to detention. They always provide support for the judicial authorities, at every stage of proceedings and collect  for them relevant information on the personality of the child.

Web pages dedicated to this issue can found:

Contact details:
National organizations:
Dipartimento Giustizia Minorile
Ufficio IV del Capo Dipartimento/Studi, ricerche ed attivit internazionali
Via Damiano Chiesa 24 00136 Roma
e-mail address :

Centro Europeo di Studi di Nisida
Via Nisida 56, 80124 Napoli
e-mail address: