April 8, 2008

Prison and Enterprise Architecture

One would imagine that the enterprise architecture for a justice system would involve people convicted of serious crimes being punished and actually going to and staying for some time in jail. The EA would plan for how many prisons are needed to meet the justice system requirements and invest accordingly in prison facilities, guards, and so on (of course, within resource constraints). Well here’s an aberration…this is not what happens in Italy.

The Wall Street Journal, 8 April 2008, reports that “Italy makes it hard for [people to go to jail] and for jailbirds to stay in jail.”

“Less than two years ago, Italy’s prison system faced a crisis: Built to hold 43,000 inmates, it was straining to contain more than 60,000.”

So what’s a responsible government to do?

They hadn’t planned or resourced adequately. So they simply “swung open the prison doors and let more than a third of the inmates go free.” YIKES!

“Within months, bank robberies jumped by 20%. Kidnappings and fraud also rose, as did computer crime, arson, and purse snatchings.” WELL WHAT WOULD YOU EXPECT!

What’s behind this insanity of letting dangerous convicted criminals out by the droves?

“The nation’s legal system has roots in the unforgiving codes of the Roman Empire, well known for crucifixions and feeding people to the Lions.’ LOOK OUT FOR THE BACKLASH!

“Since then it has evolved to to become infused with Roman Catholic notions of forgiveness along with a healthy dose of bureaucracy.”

The resulting penal system?

“The death penalty is considered abhorrent, and life sentences are rare. Defendants have the right to two appeals, and even traffic tickets can be appealed to the nation’s highest court. Italy’s courts are so clogged that the statue of limitations on most felonies expires before a final verdict can be reached.”

“In Italy, even for hardened criminals, hard time is rare.”

In one case a “henchman for one of Sicily’s fiercest crime families was released from prison and given house arrest because at 462 pounds, the prison simply didn’t have a bed big enough to accommodate their guest.

John Zachman used to describe EA as the engineering of the enterprise. If the Italy penal system is “the enterprise” here, then some serious reengineering needs to take place to bring a semblance of social order and justice back to the system.


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