Francesco Basentini

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01 May 2020Francesco Basentini leaves the leadership of the Department of Prison Administration. His resignation, requested for some time by several political forces, will be formalized tomorrow, when Roberto Tartaglia, appointed in recent days as deputy head of the Department that administers Italian prisons, will take service.

Basentini, former deputy prosecutor of Potenza wanted by the Guardasigilli, Alfonso Bonafede, head of the Dap in June 2018, shortly after the Minister's inauguration in via Arenula, expressed his intention to resign in an interview he had yesterday with Bonafede himself: "The controversies of these days are instrumental and totally unfounded, but they hurt the Department", would have been the words he addressed to the minister, who thanked him for the work he did.

The situation in prisons, already complicated by the overcrowding that has increased month by month in the last year, became explosive with the coronavirus emergency: on March 7, after the news that the visits to detainees by family members would have been suspended to contain the risk of contagion, in dozens of penal institutions, from north to south, serious riots broke out, with very heavy damage even to the structures. A critical moment in which, from many sides, requests began to circulate on the replacement of Basentini at the helm of the penitentiary system. Requests became even more pressing after the release from prison of some members of organized crime, above all Pasquale Zagaria, brother of Michele, boss of the Casalesi clan, linked to reasons of age and health. 

The decree against the easy release of the bosses approved on the night between Wednesday and Thursday by the Council of Ministers was not enough to dampen the controversy over the head of the DAP and not even the very tight time with which the CSM gave the green light to the appointment of Roberto Tartaglia, known anti-mafia magistrate, deputy chief of the Dap, chosen by Bonafede.

The tam tam on Basentini's resignation got underway yesterday evening, through the unions of the Penitentiary Police, and the formal procedure is expected for tomorrow in via Arenula. Finally, among the unions, there are those who already make assumptions about who could now lead the Dap: among the circulated names, in addition to that of Nino Di Matteo, former prosecutor of the state-mafia process and now a member of the CSM, those of the Neapolitan prosecutor Catello Maresca and Giovanni Melillo, current head of the Naples prosecutor.