Changes in the Role of Justice Social Workers in Italy: Questions of Control, Assistance and Officers’ Training

Published 12/06/2013
Type Article
Author(s) Daniela Ronco
Corresponding Authors Daniela Ronco PhD, Research associate, Law Department at the University of Torino

This paper aims at analysing the evolution of the enforcement of non-custodial sentences in Italy. In 1975, a new role was introduced, that of the justice social worker, with the duty of supervising the so-called “non-custodial measures”.

In Italy, the available studies on the topic are rather limited in number, whereas in the United Kingdom there has been a rich production, in terms of both theoretical reflection and empirical research. This is why several of the remarks put forth in this paper stem from a comparison between the two systems, as well as from an exploratory qualitative analysis carried out by means of semi-structured interviews proposed to individuals working in the enforcement of non-custodial sentences in both countries, i.e. experts in the officers’ training.

The objective of this research is to investigate the ambivalence of the role of justice social workers, deriving from the coexistence of assistance and control. Starting from the model presented by Bondeson (1994), the evolution of the Italian system for the enforcement of non-custodial sentences will be described through the control-assistance dichotomy and focusing on training, a variable that deeply influences the placement of justice social workers along the control-assistance continuum.