Rome, 7 November 2023 – The first implementation agreement of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Italian Ministry of Justice - Department of Prison Administration and Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane Mi riscatto per il futuro (I redeem myself for the future), which envisages the initiation of paths aimed at fostering the social reintegration of inmates, comes into force. Five inmates, all from the Milan Opera facility, were hired with six-month fixed-term contracts by Rete Ferroviaria Italiana and Trenitalia, the respective leaders of the Infrastructure and Passenger Hubs of Gruppo FS Italiane. After completing a specialised training course, they now work in stations and railway offices. The aim is to extend the project to other correctional facilities on the Peninsula.
An initial assessment of the Protocol, signed in July 2022 by the Italian Ministry of Justice and Gruppo FS Italiane, was presented this morning by Andrea Ostellari, Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Justice, Giovanni Russo, Head of the Department of Prison Administration, and Luigi Ferraris, CEO of Gruppo FS Italiane, at the Auditorium of Villa Patrizi, the Group's headquarters.
“Our prisons house and guard women and men deprived of their freedom but not their dignity. The main task of the Department of Prison Administration is to work towards their full recovery and subsequent reintegration. The good news is that this task can be carried out together with other actors: Italian companies and businesses that choose to train and prepare prisoners and persons subject to restrictive measures for work. Ferrovie dello Stato is one of them and deserves our gratitude and encouragement. Thanks to the agreement signed with the Ministry of Justice, five trained and capable inmates started work today. The hope is that there will be more and more of them in the future. The data speaks for itself: work is not a reward but the most useful tool for reducing recidivism and rehabilitating offenders. Promoting it means investing in the security of our communities”, said Andrea Ostellari, Undersecretary of State at the Italian Ministry of Justice.
The Head of DAP, Giovanni Russo, expressed his great satisfaction: “We have initiated a very important collaboration with one of the most important industrial groups in the country which, like the Prison Administration, extends and reaches throughout the country and which, therefore, has the potential to interest and involve all 190 correctional facilities on the Peninsula in opportunities for the re-education and reintegration of the inmate population. Our administration is looking to the future with new and proactive eyes, and I thank Gruppo Ferrovie dello Stato for deciding to support us in this endeavour to implement inclusive development policies that can prove to be a great investment in the social field.”
Luigi Ferraris, CEO of FS Group, said: “Today we are putting into practice what is first and foremost a social commitment which was undertaken last year with the hope of extending this initiative to an increasing number of facilities. We thank the Ministry of Justice and the DAP for their cooperation and for helping to spread a culture of responsibility, a fundamental prerequisite for supporting those changes necessary for the development of the national system and of which FS Group is the flag-bearer”.
The first five inmates to take part in the project were selected under the guidance of the supervising magistracy and were identified together with HR representatives from FS Group companies. Three of them were assigned to work with Rete Ferroviaria Italiana in the posts of Sala Blu attendant for services assisting travellers with reduced mobility, attendant supporting the station contact person and attendant supporting the training staff of the professional school, respectively. The other two work in Trenitalia as technical plant secretaries.
The Mi riscatto per il futuro Memorandum of Understanding, signed in July 2022 by the Italian Ministry of Justice and Gruppo FS Italiane, was created precisely with the aim of promoting the education, orientation and professional training of prisoners by supporting their involvement in public benefit programmes, leading to their reintegration into the civil and social fabric of communities. In July 2023, the signing of the first implementation agreement put into practice the principles behind the Protocol, kicking off the first pilot project.