Criminal rehabilitation is a process that leads to the extinction of the effects of criminal convictions and additional penalties. It restores to the individual that gets it the judicial capacity lost at the moment of conviction/condemnation.
Criminal convictions do not go away but the preclusive effects and the additional penalties of a conviction can be ended through rehabilitation.
For a foreigner to get rehabilitation it can mean acquiring a residence permit or citizenship.
The function of rehabilitation is to facilitate reintegration into society of those who have committed a crime; to manage to obtain it, in actual fact, you need to show repentance.
All regulations relating to rehabilitation are also applied in case of convictions received abroad, according to what is established in paragraph 12 of the penal code, on the identification of a crime.
Law on criminal rehabilitation
Criminal rehabilitation is regulated by paragraphs 178, 179, 180 and 181 of the criminal code.
Paragraph 178 in particular states: “Rehabilitation extinguishes additional penalties and every other criminal effect of the conviction, unless the law demands otherwise.”
Paragraph 179, dictates the conditions for obtaining it, paragraph 180 dictates the conditions for revoking it and paragraph 181 specifies the conditions for the rehabilitation in case of convictions suffered abroad.
The beneficiaries of rehabilitation
Not all those that have received criminal convictions can be rehabilitated. First of all, the applicant needs to show real repentance.
Three years must have passed from the moment in which the punishment can be said to be settled, that is to say from when it has stopped atoning for the crime.
The term rises to eight years in case of a repeat offence, and up to ten years if the situation involves habitual delinquency (the person in question ends up being habitually disposed to crime), professional (the person in question uses returns from crimes in order to live) or tendencies (the person in question has a propensity to commit crimes).
The term of three, eight or ten years can also have passed from when the payment of a loan was made, if the conviction has involved the payment of it, or from the day in which, having had a suspended sentence, the sentence passes into judgement.
In the course of the period under examination the person in question must have had an irreproachable conviction, without charges or litigation, must have compensated potential damages to injured parties, must have honoured all civil obligations caused by the crime, must have paid all trial expenses.
An exception to payment obligations can be made only in cases in which the person in question manages to demonstrate the impossibility of adhering to it.
Rehabilitation does not have retroactive effects. The crime still counts, just like the risk of a repeat offence.
The judge, in a potential criminal trial, would also have to bear in mind the crimes for which the perpetrators could be rehabilitated.
Revocation of the rehabilitation ruling
The rehabilitation ruling must be revoked in case the person being rehabilitated commits, within seven years, a crime that includes a minimal jail sentence of ten years, or a more serious crime.
The expulsion of the foreigner does not block their rehabilitation
Criminal rehabilitation cannot be granted if the guilty party was subjected to security measures, unless expulsion of the foreigner from the State is involved
With ruling no 29490 from 2011, the Court of Appeal has specified that “Rehabilitation implies that the subject has shown proof of real and complete repentance, by demonstrating that they have conducted themselves without a wrongful attitude and having undertaken a lifestyle respectful of the fundamental principles of civil cohabitation, held in the period after the crime for which the rehabilitation was required.”
In this particular case, the Court rejected the attorney general’s appeal relating to the case of a foreigner, whose persistent good conduct had been contested because they were convicted for violation of the expulsion order from Italy.
For the Court of Appeal, the conduct of the foreigner ended up being compatible with rehabilitation, since they did not have other pending charges and had carried out regular work activity after the conviction.
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