Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"No Sing-Sing"

(taken from The Daily Telegraph)

Silvio Berlusconi has banned Mafia bosses from singing in jails

Godfathers and their foot soldiers have been allowed to rule the roost in Italy's jails, giving orders from their cells, as well as enjoying home comforts such as TV, gym and conjugal visits.

But now Silvio Berlusconi's new centre-Right government has toughened up regulations governing the treatment of convicted crime bosses. As part of sweeping new measures against crime, the justice minister Angelino Alfano has banned inmates from singing and socialising with fellow mobsters.

Informers have told prison officials that inmates have passed on messages and orders in song. Inmates have been singing messages to each other in their native dialects such as Sicilian, Neapolitan or Pugliese which were incomprehensible to prison warders.

The majority of mafiosi are in jails in northern Italy in a bid to keep them away from their native south.

Other measures include removing previously generous privileges and also keeping mobsters in their cells for 23 hours a day and allowing them only an hour of open air exercise.

Visits from family, friends and lawyers have also been dramatically reduced in the ten prisons that house 570 convicted mobsters deemed dangerous and a threat to society.

Mr Alfano said: ''We are toughening up the rules and coming down hard on the Mafia even when they are in jail. They will not be allowed to socialise and they will not be allowed to sing.

"We have evidence that in the past orders and messages were passed on and we have also stopped them mixing with each other as well. They will spend the majority of their day alone in their cells.''

The rules will apply to convicted Godfathers such as Toto Riina and Bernardo Provenzano, both serving life sentences.

However one privilege that is not being denied them is the opportunity to join the ice cream making classes at Opera prison in Milan.

Hmmm... I'm beginning to wonder if Italian opera/operettas also hold hidden messages.

And ice cream making classes? Imagine the mafioso who ordered hits on a dozen men, watched as their bullet-ridden, blood-splattered bodies were dumped in rivers and ravines, is sentenced to life in prison, saying "Yay...spumoni here I come!"