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Versione italiana
Academic year
Operatore di polizia giudiziaria
Didactic period
Secondo Semestre

Training objectives

The course aims to supplement the knowledge of the criminal justice system, focusing on its last segment, that of the enforcement of the sentence. Over the years, the subject has gained increasing importance and vitality: the knowledge of the legal regulation of the post-conviction phase is essential for students oriented to professions related to criminal matters. The ways and the purposes of punishment, the alternatives to detention, the prison benefits, the rights of the detainees and the prison conditions have become constant themes of the public debate and a core issue for the Italian and European institutions. Nowadays confidence in the criminal justice system depends largely on the efficiency of the correctional rules and practice.


Students will gain a thorough understanding of the rules set by the Code of Criminal Procedure and by the Penitentiary law (law n. 354 of 1975) concerning the enforcement of criminal sentences.
In the first stage of the course, students will become familiar with the main functions of the Public prosecutor and of the Enforcement judge at the first stages following the final decision. Special attention will be devoted to the practical issues that arise more frequently in Court. In the second stage, the course will focus on the Supervisory Tribunal and Magistrate and judge and their respective functions, on the alternative measures and on the other correction and rehabilitation instruments. The last part of the course will be dedicated to special penitentiary rules applicable to detainees convicted for organized crimes.


Students will learn to understand the theoretical and practical aspects of the criminal decision’s enforcement. They will acquire the capability of recognizing the historical and cultural backgrounds underlying the current legislative choices, included in the Constitutional and European context. They will be able to interpret the legislative framework and to move in the plurality of sources that apply in this area. They will acquire critical analysis skills on the complex issues posed by a discipline in constant evolution. They will also be able to understand the contents of the main legal acts relating to the enforcement of criminal sentences and the solutions offered by case-law on the main practical issues.


In order to attend classes, students must have knowledge of the fundamentals of Criminal law and Criminal procedure.
To sit the exam, students have to pass the examinations of Criminal law and Criminal procedure (three years degree), or Criminal law I and Criminal procedure (master’s degree). Students of the previous master’s degree course have to pass the examinations of Criminal law I and Criminal procedure I.

Course programme

Section I: fundamentals (3 hours)

The purposes of punishment – Constitutional principles related to the enforcement of criminal sanctions – The reform of the enforcement of judgments rules and the central role of jurisdiction.

Section II: the enforceable decision (8 hours)

Enforceability of criminal judgments ¬– The enforcement injunction – Functions of the Public prosecutor – Functions of the Enfocement judge – The role of the lawyer in the enforcement stage – The enforcement procedure – Unfair process and res iudicata: the issue of the implementation of the European Court judgements.

Section III: penitentiary law and alternatives to detention (17 hours)

Competence and functions of Supervisory Penitentiay Judge and Tribunal – Proceedings before the supervisory organs – Functions of correction officers – Alternatives to detention in the Penitentiary law: the rehabilitation principle and its implementation in the Italian system – Probation – Special measures for drug addicted – Different forms of home detention – Semi-liberty (work release) – How to get an alternative measure from liberty: the suspension of enforcement injunction – Parole – Early release – Leave permits.

Section IV: prison rules as a key component of the fight against organised crime (12 hours)

Penitentiary strict regimes: special surveillance and suspension of ordinary prison rules – The dangerous inmates by reason of behaviour or of committed crime – Derogatory rules for organized crime convicts: the role played by Penitentiary Law in fighting criminal organizations – The "harsh treatment" regime and its compliance with constitutional and conventional principles – Limits imposed on access to alternatives measures – The cooperation with justice as a condition for obtaining alternatives measures. – Special benefits for cooperating witnesses.

Didactic methods

Lectures (in Italian).
The description of the theoretical framework, the related constitutional principles and the evolution of the legal system is combined with continuous references to the court judgements and the discussion of practical cases.
The course is completed with several seminars on the issue of organized crime, addressed in an interdisciplinary perspective, and with a visit to a correctional institution.
Students attending the course can take advantage of shared teaching materials, such as Constitutional Court decisions, Supreme Court case law, European Court of Human rights judgments, judicial documents, statistical data, academic papers. The teaching materials are uploaded to the dedicated web page in the "Materiale per frequentanti" section.

Learning assessment procedures

Oral examination. The knowledge of (a) the criminal procedure’s rules concerning the enforcement of final decisions and (b) the main legal institutions ruled by penitentiary law will be assessed. In order to obtain a good grade, students have to demonstrate the comprehension of the problematic aspects underlying the solutions adopted by law and their ability to recognize the systematic connections among the different topics. The capacity to recognize the impact of the constitutional principles in the post-conviction stage will also be verified. The final grade takes into account the way students present their arguments, their autonomy in providing answers and the use of appropriate terminology.
The examination interview consists of two questions. The final grade is the result of the average of the results obtained in the two parts of the exam. The failure in answering in a sufficiently correct way to one of the questions entails a third query, aimed at better clarifying the student’s knowledge on the subject. A third question could also be asked in order to improve the final grade.

Reference texts

- F. Della Casa-G. Giostra (a cura di), Manuale di diritto penitenziario, Giappichelli, 2020, except chapter VIII (Ordinamento peniteziario minorile)
- Chapter XIX (L'esecuzione) of AA.VV., Fondamenti di Procedura penale, CEDAM, 2019, except sections 4, 5, 8, 9.