Judicial errors, about 990 people a year in prison by mistake

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About 30,000 people who are victims of judicial errors (that is to say that, after being convicted with a final sentence, they are acquitted following a review process) or unjustly detained (that is, who undergo pre-trial detention in prison or under house arrest , only to be acquitted), from 1991 to 31 December last. This is the data that emerges from the investigation by the “Errorigiudiziari.com” association of Benedetto Lattanzi and Valentino Maimone, who have been studying the extent of the phenomenon in Italy for over 25 years.

This is, on average, about 990 people per year. And the state, to compensate them, has spent a gigantic sum: approx 870 million euros, for an average of 29 million euros per year.

In 2020, there were 750 cases of unjust detention (which represent the vast majority of those suffering from judicial errors), and the state expenditure on compensation reached about 37 million euros. But, if the cases are about 250 fewer than the previous year, according to Lattanzi and Maimone, it is because, due to Covid, judicial activity has been slowed down. Also that of the Courts of Appeal that deal with the requests for reparation for unjust detention. From January to December 2020, however, the real judicial errors were 16. To compensate the 766 victims (there are many, in all) of a bad job on the part of justice, in all, 46 million euros were spent last year.

“For the arrests of innocent people he paid, and handsomely, only the state. The magistrates who made mistakes have never suffered career or disciplinary consequences. This is deeply wrong, ”he explained to Republic Enrico Costa of Action. “In the three-year period 2017-2019, out of 3 thousand cases of unjust detention, the disciplinary actions were 53, with only 4 complaints and 9 acquittals, while 31 cases are still ongoing. A serious state must check whether the magistrates have made a mistake, as happens for a doctor who killed a patient or an engineer who saw a building collapse because of his wrong calculations ».

But let’s go back to the first question. “30 thousand people unjustly imprisoned since 1992” could fill “a football stadium”, underlines Costa. “30 thousand families in suffering. Have these people been considered presumed innocent? ‘

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