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Social Service Offices for Minors (USSM)

Social Service Offices for Minors (USSM).

Organ of fundamental importance in the juvenile rite Social Service Offices for Minors (USSM) they intervene in every state and degree of criminal proceedings, from the moment in which, following a complaint, the minor enters the justice circuit until the end of his course.

The intervention is initiated by the Judicial Authority, and provides for the collection of cognitive elements for ascertaining the personality of the child and the social / family structure of origin as well as for the elaboration and formulation of the educational project (in some cases re-educational) , in implementation of the measures ordered by the judge.

The Residential Child Services are divided into:

  • First reception centers (CPA):

that temporarily welcome minors who are arrested, accompanied or arrested in the act of committing a crime by the police at the request of the Public Prosecutor for minors.

The minor remains in the reception center until the validation hearing, for a maximum time of ninety-six hours; during the validation hearing the Judge for Preliminary Investigations assesses whether there are sufficient elements to validate the arrest or detention and decides on the possible application of one of the four possible precautionary measures for minors (prescriptions, stay at home, placement in the community, precautionary custody).

The presence of the juvenile lawyer is fundamental in this phase; if the minor or the merchants had not formalized the appointment of a fiduciary, one of them will be appointed by a special register.

  • Community, ministerial and private social services:

Definitely characterized by a greater openness to the external environment (compared to first reception centers and penal institutions for minors), there are placed minors subject to precautionary measures pursuant to art. 22 of the DPR448 / 88.

Entry into the community can also be arranged as part of a measure to test or grant an alternative measure to the holding or application of security measures; some Communities are annexed to the reception centers;

  • Penal institutions for minors (IPM):

Extrema ratio.

In these institutions the measures of pre-trial detention and imprisonment are carried out.

They are structurally designed to provide adequate responses to the child's personality and to the requirements related to the execution of judicial authority measures.

The treatment activity is carried out by ateam multidisciplinary, in which there is a stable socio-educational reference operator belonging to the Administration.

The fact is that these places are certainly characterized by greater rigor and control with respect to the community environment.

These training, professional, cultural or recreational activities are carried out in cooperation with operators of other bodies and through the use of private social and voluntary associations; in the IPM there are personnel of the Penitentiary Police Corps adequately trained in the relationship with adolescence.

The Administration also manages the Multi-purpose day centers (CDP), Non-residential juvenile services for day care of minors and young adults in the penal area or in situations of social hardship and at risk of deviance, even if not subjected to criminal proceedings, not included in this survey.
Multifunctional day centers offer educational, study, training-work, as well as recreational and sports activities.

From an easy-to-read analysis it can be seen that most of the child offenders are in charge of the USSM and are subjected to measures to be carried out in the external penal area; detention, in fact, assumes a residual character for minors of age, to leave room for alternative sanctioning paths (extrema ratio).
In recent years there has been an increasing application of placement in the community, not only as a precautionary measure, but also in the context of other judicial measures, due to its ability to reconcile educational needs with those containing control.

Regarding the use of child services it is observed that it is predominantly male; the girls are in fact in a clearly smaller number and are above all of foreign nationality.

The presence of foreigners is more evident in the Communities; data on origins show that in recent years the most common nationalities in the area of ​​deviance, such as Morocco, Romania, Albania and the countries of the former Yugoslavia, still prevalent, have been joined by other nationalities, singularly not very relevant in numerical terms, but which have contributed to making multi-ethnic and undoubtedly more complex the picture of users or of intervention.

Regarding age, if in recent years there has already been a greater presence of minors at the age of majority, with the entry into force of the 26 Law Decree June 2014 n. 92, converted with modifications into the 11 Law August 2014, n.117, their number has acquired a still growing importance, above all in terms of presence in penal institutions for minors.

Mind you: juvenile crime, a broad and complex assurance of socio / cultural phenomenon is characterized by the prevalence of property crime and, in particular, of the crimes of theft e rapina. Violations of the provisions on the subject are also frequent drugs, while among the crimes against the person voluntary personal injuries prevail.

What has been said so far serves once again to underline which principle is common to all the Bodies involved in Juvenile Justice: to preserve the child as a weak subject, as he is in formation, and to prepare, after analyzing his personal inclinations, a family member, a program of ad hoc intervention aimed at its full reintegration into society.

The Cecatiello Law Firm advises its clients for the best management of juvenile criminal proceedings.


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