ITALY: Roman Holiday

Outside the grim walls of Rome's Regina Coeli prison last week, a happy mob of wives and sweethearts strummed mandolins and serenaded the prisoners cheering through the windows above. They had plenty to sing and cheer about: the Chamber of Deputies had just voted to free more than half of Italy's 50,000 prison inmates, the most liberal amnesty in the nation's history. Italy's police, however, did no cheering: the amnesty applies not only to political offenders but to thousands of petty thieves and run-of-the-mill crooks, many of whom, according to the cops'...

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