In January 2020 the index of the XVI Report on conditions of detention was ready. We had the largest mass of data and information ever collected by the Antigone Observatory in its twenty-year history: in 2019 our Observers visited 98 penitentiary institutes, in every corner of the country. Practically one visit every three days.
The overall picture was that of a prison where overcrowding was rapidly returning to 2013 levels, when Italy was sentenced by the European Court of Human Rights, of a “sick” prison with one in four prisoners in psychiatric therapy and “Elderly” with a quarter of prisoners over 50 years old.
Then, sudden and frightening, the infection spread from Covid-19 in Italy. The pandemic did not spare penitentiaries. And so, in a few days, everyone’s lives were turned upside down, including that of Antigone and his observatory.