Introduction: (description of the project / activity) The Italian Association for Organic Farming (AIAB), has been involved in an intense activity on social agriculture within the Italian penitentiary system. The project “Social farming and detention: a future pact”, carried out on 2009 and supported by the Italian Ministry of Labor and Social Policies together with the Ministry of Justice, realized studies, researches and training courses regarding organic agricultural activities within prisons. The project focused on both the census of the activities within the prisons on nationwide and agricultural work quality for the training and rehabilitation of detainees. The project aimed at checking the food activity potential for the inmates and for those people under alternatives to imprisonment. Furthermore the project aimed at checking the employment opportunities to use at the end of the imprisonment, particularly in the organic production sector. The project mainly regarded the following objectives:
-to check the opportunities of agricultural activity to provide new professional skills to detainees, by the use of agricultural lands within prisons;
-to identify employment opportunities in agricultural sector for people under alternatives to imprisonment, according to the Italian penitentiary regulation (L. n. 354/1975);
-to identify the rehabilitation power of the work carried out in an organic system, in order to improve the accountability either the well-being of the detainees and to facilitate the social reintegration at the end of the imprisonment
-to improve the communication and integration between the detainees and the local communities living near by the prison.
The project aimed at creating a less distressing life perspective, enhancing the agricultural work inside and outside the prisons. The activities carried out on farm have highly involved the detainees. The work on the farm is flexible and multifunctional, including a strong relationship with plants and animals. Thus the work showed to have a strong potential in terms of social inclusion and rehabilitation of disadvantages people (with mental and physical disabilities) together with the detainees. The same results have been carried out in the prisons where the inmates work with organic method. The organic production involves all the prisons although not all production is certified.
Contribution to the 3rd International Degrowth Conference for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity in Venice in 2012.