Recent Anti-Mafia Strategies: The Italian Experience

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

We often tend to think of criminal policies as essentially repressive. At first sight this assumption seems to apply straightforwardly in the case of policies against organized crime, especially those targeted at mafia type organizations. However, experience shows that these criminal organizations can be fought successfully also by means of measures which are not in themselves repressive, albeit they aim to favour repression in the last resort. Together with direct repressive measures, in the Italian case we indeed register a wide variety of other policies addressing civil society and public administrations, and only indirectly the mafia. Indirect strategies, therefore, are aimed at the reinforcement and the spreading of some attitudes and behaviours which can render the day to day activity of mafia-men very difficult to be carried on. They are rather heterogeneous, and address actors which are very diversified: entrepreneurs; civic associations; public administrations; local bodies; schools; young people. For instance, they try to promote a “culture of legality” and the reaction of civil society against the mafia, or to render public administrations and public acts more impermeable to it, or to strengthen the capabilities and performances of police forces. Sometimes they aim at spreading information, awareness, motivation against the mafia. Sometimes they try to alter the balance of costs and benefits from the point of view of some actors. This is the case of anti-racket legislation and of the legislation for eyewitnesses and collaborators of justice. Most of the time they try to promote, to favour or to induce a behaviour which normally is rare and costly (albeit in some cases such actions are done spontaneously). Rather than “alternative”, it is preferable to call such indirect strategies to fight organized crime “complementary” to repressive measures, in the sense that the latter are always required, but can be more effective if they are complemented by indirect means.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOrganized Crime. Culture, Markets and Policies
Pages195-206
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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