Coronavirus Crisis Causes Almost 400 Members of the Mafia to Be Released from Jail in Italy

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Prison Riots: Inmates pictured after a riot in Milan. CREDIT: ANADOLU AGENCY. Credit:

The Ministry of Justice in Italy has tried to rectify this issue with a new decree, however, dozens of mafia bosses are already roaming the streets of Italy due to medical reasons.

THE pandemic has only brought the Italian mafia good news. First this heath crisis created the mafia’s ideal environment in which it could boost its reputation in the most deprived neighbourhoods of Naples, Palmero or Reggio Calabria.

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Now the virus has allowed for the release of 376 mafia members who have been let out either because of their old age or pathological illnesses which puts them at a higher risk of contracting and suffering from the virus.

All of them are currently under house arrest, however, this relatively small number of releases can be added to the huge 6,000 individuals who were released from prison for having committed a crime which entailed less than an 18-month sentence.

This whole debacle has caused controversy in Italy, causing the head of the Department of Penitentiary Administration to resign and it has also unleashed a political storm which even threatens to topple the Minster of Justice, Alfonso Bonafede.


In just under a week, the streets of Italy have seen some of the most infamous felons of organised crime roam the streets again.

Pasquale Zagaria, the brother of the mafia boss, Michele Zagaria and the member of the Casaleses gang is already free. He was sentenced to 41 BIS isolation, the harshest in Italy, for being the treasurer of one of the largest mafias in Italy.


Another infamous prisoner, Franco Catalado who was sentenced to life in prison for having dissolved a 13-year-old in acid is also spending his quarantine with his family in the heart of Lamezia. These are only two examples.

The Minister of Justice, Bonafede, was trying to alleviate the stress on jails, an environment in which tensions were running high during the crisis and several riots ended with dozens of escapes and the death of 13 inmates.

He has now been forced to rectify his initial law and announce a replacement decree law which allows judges to rectify the conditions which the release is allowed under.

However, the minister says that the crisis has subsidised in recent weeks: “Mafiosi are like toothpaste, once out of the tube it is difficult to put them back in.”

Bonafede is expected to appear in Parliament to explain his actions after being accused of various serious crimes. The magistrate has been accused of being conditioned by the demands of the mafia bosses. However, Bonafede replied that this was an “infamous, unfounded and absurd hypothesis.”




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