Access to detention facilities


Country Report: Access to detention facilities Last updated: 03/06/21


Decree Law 13/2017, implemented by L 46/2017, has clarified that access to CPR is guaranteed under the same conditions as access to prisons. This means that the Guarantor for the rights of detained persons and parliamentarians, among other official bodies, has unrestricted access to CPR.

However, in June 2019, the parliamentarian Riccardo Magi asked to access the CPR of Trapani with a delegation from ASGI and LasciateCientrare. Generally referring to the rules on access to CPR, the Prefect of Trapani refused the entry of the delegation.[1] ASGI lodged an appeal before the Administrative Court of Sicily, which, on 20 September 2019, declared that the public administration has no discretion to limit the access of a Member of Parliament and those accompanying him. The Court recognised the parliamentarian has a subjective right to enter CPR and to choose the delegation, and therefore the administrative judge declared itself not competent to decide on the case, as it falls under the jurisdiction of the ordinary judge.[2]

As CPR and eventually hotspots are places where asylum seekers are detained, Article 7 (2) of the Reception Decree applies. It states that UNHCR or organisations working on its behalf, family members, lawyers assisting asylum seekers, organisations with consolidated experience in the field of asylum, and representatives of religious entities also have access to CPR.[3] Access can be limited for public order and security reasons or for reasons related to the administrative management of the centres but not fully impeded.[4]

However, the regulation of CPRs requires an authorisation from the competent Prefecture for family members, NGOs, representatives of religious entities, journalists and any other person who make the request to enter CPR.[5]

According to ASGI experience, Prefectures apply the regulation of CPR significantly restricting the scope of the guarantees provided by Law 46/2017 and by Reception decree.

Access to CPR for journalists is quite difficult. They have to pass through two different stages before gaining authorisation to visit the CPR. Firstly, they need to make a request to the local prefecture (the local government representative), which then forwards the request to the Ministry of Interior who investigates the applicant, before finally sending the authorisation back to the Prefecture.

During his visits carried out between February and March 2018 in the CPR of Brindisi, Bari, Potenza and Turin, the Guarantor for the rights of detained persons verified that the possibility of religious practice was strongly limited since no minister of worship actually has access to the centres and there were no spaces set up for places of worship.[6]

In order to inform and raise awareness on the effective situation and conditions of migrants inside Italian administrative detention centres, the LasciateCIEntrare campaign organizes visits inside CPR with journalists, lawyers, members of Parliament and NGOs.

The Senate highlighted in its December 2017 report that it has often welcomed in its delegations visiting CPR the mayors or the municipal and provincial counsellors of the cities that host CPR. They are unable to enter themselves in those facilities unless authorised by the Prefectures but, as highlighted in the report, easier access could establish closer links to the concerned local populations.[7] The situation as regards mayors’ access to detention facilities remained the same in 2018.

During 2018, LasciateCIEntrare found serious obstacles to access CPR. A visit to the CPR of Bari on August 2018 was interrupted for one hour after the Prefecture claimed the delegation had not been authorised even though a Member of the European Parliament was present.[8] In 2019, all access requests presented by LasciateCIEntrare to visit the CPR of Bari, Trapani, Caltanissetta, Turin, Brindisi, Palazzo San Gervasio, Gradisca d’Isonzo, and Ponte Galeria (Rome) were denied.[9]

In April and May 2019 ASGI asked access to the CPR of Caltanissetta but it was denied.  In November 2019, ASGI asked access to the CPR of Turin but it was formally denied. The Prefecture of Turin, after collecting the negative opinion by the Ministry of Interior, used order and security reasons and considered ASGI not included among the subjects allowed to access CPRs according to the MOI Decree issued on 20 October 2014 (CPR regulation). In both cases ASGI lodged an appeal before the Administrative Court assuming the violation, above all, of the Reception Decree.

On 30 April 2020 the Administrative Court of Piemonte ordered the authorities to make a new exam of the access request, considering the refusal illegitimate, as it was not motivated. [10]

As for Caltanissetta, on 21 October 2020, the Administrative Court of Sicily accepted the appeal submitted by ASGI and allowed access to the CPR.[11] The Government, however, lodged an appeal against the decision, pending at the time of writing.

On 22 September 2020, the Prefecture of Nuoro (Sardinia) denied ASGI request to access to the CPR of Macomer, considering ASGI not to be included among the entities referred to in Article 7 of the Reception Decree and in any case deeming the entrance irreconcilable with the health emergency due to Covid-19. ASGI lodged an appeal before the Administrative Court of Sardinia, which, on 13 January 2021, ordered the Prefecture with an interim decision[12] to review the request. However, with a next decision of April 2021, the Prefecture of Nuoro confirmed its previous decision claiming that ASGI is not included, for its statutory purposes, in organizations allowed to enter.

On 2 March 2020 the Prefecture of Agrigento rejected ASGI’s request to access the Lampedusa hotspot on the grounds that ASGI has not signed any agreement with the Ministry of the Interior and for unspecified reasons connected with the administrative management of the centre.  ASGI lodged an appeal before the Administrative Court of Sicily and obtained a first interim decision, in September 2020,[13] ordering the Prefecture to review the request. With a new provision, however, the Prefecture again denied access to the hotspot for reasons that do not differ much from the previous ones, adding however the impossibility of reconciling entry with the protection of the health of guests, delegates of the association and operators, due to the epidemic situation of Covid-19. Against the new denial ASGI lodged an appeal for additional reasons which is pending at the time of writing.

As of November 2019, ASGI asked access to the transit zones but the competent authorities never answered to the request.[14] On January 2021 ASGI sent again a request to have access to the transit zones of Malpensa airport and Rome Fiumicino airport. The Prefecture of Rome replied not to have any competence in deciding the access.  The other authorities did not answer.



[1] See for more information:

[2] Administrative Court of Sicily, decision 2360/2019, 20 September 2019.

[3] Article 7(2) Reception Decree.

[4] Article 7(3) Reception Decree.

[5]  Article 6 (4) and (5) Moi Decree 20 October 2014

[6]  Guarantor for the rights of detained persons, Rapporto sulle visite effettuate nei centri di permanenza per il rimpatrio (Febbraio – Marzo 2018), 6 September 2018,  available in Italian at:

[7] Senate, CPR Report, December 2017, 24.

[8] LasciateCIEntrare, ‘Migranti, Lasciatecientrare nei CPR di Bari e Brindisi online il report’, 7 November 2018, available in Italian at:

[9] Meltingpot, Morti e proteste nei CPR. Ma il Ministro e il Governo non se ne accorgono, 13 January 2020.

[10]  See ASGI, CPR: TAR Piemonte, si deve motivare il diniego di accesso, 12 May 2020, available in Italian at:

[11]Administrative Court of Sicily, decision no. 2169 of 21 October 2020, Available at :

[12]  Administrative Court of Sardinia, interim decision no. 4 of 13 January 2021.

[13]  Administrative Court of Sicily, interim decision no. 943 of 24 September 2020.

[14]   ASGI, In Limine Project, 18 February 2020, see:

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation