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Enrica Valente Sardina

“Free to choose” and the new projects to protect minors who are children of the ‘ndragheta

Issue 6/2020

Abstract. The protection of minors belonging to ‘ndranghetist mafia families is at the center of the activity of the Calabrian juvenile judiciary, committed, for almost ten years, to a delicate balance of two opposing interests: on the one hand, the protection of childhood and youth, which can involve, in some cases, the forfeiture of parental responsibility with the removal of the minor or parent and, on the other, the freedom of each individual to mature within his or her own family.
Starting from the debate that has recently arisen on the subject, this contribution intends to examine the arguments underlying the measures de potestate, adopted by the Reggio Calabria Juvenile Court and confirmed by the decision of the Superior Council of Judiciary, also in relation to the possibility of extending the Calabrian jurisprudential practice in other Italian districts, equally affected by the ’ndranghetist mafia capillarity.

This article was submitted anonymously for evaluation by two expert reviewers, with a positive outcome.


SUMMARY: 1. “Free to choose”: a juvenile judge’s battle to free the ‘ndrangheta minors. – 2. De potestate provisions and the accessory punishment pursuant to article 34 c.p. – 3. The criticisms of the Reggio Calabria’s practice and the approval resolution of the Superior Council of Judiciary. – 4. The protocols of understanding among the Calabrian judicial offices, the “free to choose” project and the regional law n. 9/2018. – 5. The ‘ndrangheta of northern Italy.


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