The Reception Decree prohibits the detention of asylum seekers for the sole purpose of examining their asylum application. However, the new provisions introduced by Decree Law 113/2018, implemented by L 132/2018, create the risk of automatic violation of this principle since they foresee detention in suitable facilities set up in hotspots, first reception centres or subsequently in pre-removal centres (Centri di permanenza per il rimpatrio, CPR) for the purpose of establishing identity or nationality.
The Decree Law 130/2020, converted by L. 173/2020, modified this provision only with respect to the terms of the detention – 30 days, to which 90 days can be added and a further 30 in some cases, compared to the previous 30 days plus 6 months – but it did not change the grounds for the detention (although it did extend grounds for detention of asylum applicants; see below).
Persons applying for asylum in CPR are subject to the Accelerated Procedure.
In 2020, as reported from the Guarantor for the rights of detained persons, 4,387 people – 94% of them men – had been detained in CPRs; roughly 50% (2,232) were actually returned. Tunisia is by far the most represented country of nationality amongst detained migrants, and the country with the highest return rate (2,623 out of 4,387detained migrants are Tunisians and 1,865 out of 2,232 returned migrants are returned to Tunisia).
As of 30 April 2021, 1,490 people – all males, as no women were present – have been detained in CPRs, out of which 1,097 actually returned. Out of the 1,490 detained migrants, 922 (60%) are Tunisians; out of the 1,097 returned migrants, 618 (56%) are Tunisians.
The number of CPRs has increased from five in 2017 to ten in 2020: Restinco in Brindisi, Bari, Caltanissetta, Ponte Galeria in Rome; Turin, Palazzo San Gervasio in Potenza, Trapani, Gradisca d’Isonzo in Gorizia, Macomer, Nuoro (in Sardinia), Corelli in Milan. As of the end of 2020, the official capacity was 1425 places in total; effective capacity was less than half, with a total of 635 places and 3 hotspots (Caltanissetta, Potenza and Trapani) out of 10 not active.
The number of persons entering the hotspots in 2021 was not available at the time of writing. In 2020, 24,884 persons – including 3,537 unaccompanied minors – entered in hotspots, 19,874 of which, including 2,588 unaccompanied minors, in Lampedusa. High pressure on the hotspot of Lampedusa continued in 2021, with the centre hosting at times more than 1,000 migrants, in spite of its much smaller capacity.
 Article 6(1) Reception Decree.
 Article 6(3-bis) Reception Decree, inserted by Article 3 Decree Law 113/2018 and L 132/2018.
 Article 6 (3-bis) Reception Decree, as amended by DL 130/2020 and L. 173/2020.