Italy – Populist Government Uses Prisoners To Fix Roads

Credit - Youtube Vista Agenzia Televisiva Nationale

A remarkable project has been started in the Italian capital Rome in the past few weeks. Prisoners recently left the penitentiary environment every day to restore the roads around the Italian capital which are often in poor condition. “A win-win situation,” members of the populist government of Mr Matteo Salvini claim.

The prisoners are not paid, so the city can repair roads cheaply. Meanwhile the detainees are happy to be allowed outside.

Damaged asphalt, pits in the road, clogged drainage pits … many roads in Rome are in poor condition and that is a thorn in the eyes of the Romans. For Mayor Ms Virginia Raggi, tackling it was an election promise. For the time being she could not redeem it as there are no funds available. With the agreement of the government, she has called upon prisoners to repair the roads.

Thanks to a collaboration with the Rebbibia prison, the largest in Rome, this is changing. Since October 30th of last year, prisoners have been leaving the prison every morning with vans under police escort. They drive to places where the road is in poor condition, carry out repairs and return. The prisoners first received training for this.

They are not paid for their work because they are doing public utility work. “It would be nice if we got a fee,” says prisoner Fabio Barni.

“Because life in prison is also expensive.”

Still, the prisoners seem satisfied. “It takes away the boredom,” says another detainee. “That way we can go outside. And when I work, I sometimes forget that I am a prisoner.



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