Home » Offenders with mental disorders, trip to the ‘most critical center in Italy’: “The least manageable patients arrive here”

Offenders with mental disorders, trip to the ‘most critical center in Italy’: “The least manageable patients arrive here”

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Offenders with mental disorders, trip to the ‘most critical center in Italy’: “The least manageable patients arrive here”

The Cornoviglio Glass: A Unique Rems Facility in Italy

Located in the woods on the heights of La Spezia hinterland, the Cornoviglio Glass structure is unlike any other Rems facility in Italy. Inaugurated two years ago, it is the only one intended for patients from other regions who have committed serious crimes but were deemed to be mentally unfit at the time. The facility has been described as a “slightly magical place, at the top of the hill, surrounded by chestnut trees” by Alfredo Sbrana, the medical director.

Considered the most critical of the Italian Rems by Mauro Palma, the former National Guarantor of the rights of persons deprived of liberty, the Cornoviglio Glass facility has been noted for its potential to “re-propose the logic of internment of the person with psychiatric pathology”. However, according to Sbrana, the facility aims to provide a therapeutic environment for individuals who may have spent months in isolation in prison.

The Rems were established as part of a reform that led to the closure of the Opg (judicial psychiatric hospitals) in Italy, with the aim of providing dignified care for individuals with mental health issues. Michele Miravalle, national coordinator of the Antigone observatory on prison conditions, emphasizes the importance of viewing the Rems as a temporary solution rather than a final destination for patients.

However, there have been concerns raised about the Cornoviglio Glass facility being more akin to a place of detention rather than a treatment center. The management of the facility, in collaboration with ASL 5, has made improvements to address these concerns and ensure that patients receive appropriate care during their stay, which lasts no longer than 12 months.

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While the operators and managers of the Rems of Calice al Cornoviglio acknowledge the need for improvements in the acceptance system and evaluation process, they stress the importance of maintaining smaller numbers of patients in order to provide effective therapeutic relationships. They also emphasize the importance of considering alternatives to Rems, such as second-level communities, for individuals who may not require the level of care provided at the facility.

Moving forward, the focus will be on improving the regulation and assessment process to ensure that only the most severe cases are admitted to the Rems. The managers of the Cornoviglio Glass facility are open to collaborating with the new Guarantor to further enhance the structure and services offered to patients.

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