Why mafiosi must serve hard time
Francesco La Licata
The European Court of Human Rights is clueless about what it takes to fight organized crime, said Francesco La Licata. In an absurd ruling last week, the Strasbourg, France–based court declared that Italy is violating the human rights of imprisoned mob bosses. Under Italian law, mafiosi who are serving life in prison cannot receive privileges—such as day passes and sentence reductions—unless they cooperate with authorities. That law, says the court, must now change. The ruling is “in line” with criminal justice trends across Europe, with prison authorities offering inmates ever more incentives to reform. But mafiosi are not normal prisoners, and the idea of them repenting and reforming “is simply unthinkable.” These hardened criminals remain bound for life by the blood oath they swore upon joining “the family.” Only the prospect of a life sentence without parole, served entirely in isolation, will persuade mob bosses to turn against their organization and collaborate with authorities. Allowing these thugs to serve normal sentences, with perks for good behavior, will “discourage any form of dissociation or repentance.” This ruling will set back our nation’s fight against organized-crime groups, which generate more than $200 billion a year in illicit revenue and threaten and kill those who dare stand in their way. “But the Strasbourg court does not know this”—or simply doesn’t care.