di Riccardo D'Andrea
Rome, June 10 - One of Italy's former prison islands will likely be reopened, a government official said Monday. A plan to reopen the prison on Pianosa off the coast of Tuscany has been approved by administrators and will be discussed further at high-level meetings on June 19, the official said. Prison overcrowding has been a mounting social and political problem for the government. Just over a year ago, then-Justice Minister Paola Severino said that two of Italy's former prison islands, Asinara off Sardinia as well as Pianosa, could be used again to ensure maximum-security regimes for mafiosi. Severino, justice minister in the former government of Mario Monti, said at the time that the costs might be "high" but "if we were able to meet those costs, we might think of reopening them". Some politicians welcomed Severino's idea at the time, but local officials, especially in Sardinia, were critical.