The Judiciary Psychiatric Hospital of Aversa is the biggest and oldest of the six still existing in Italy. Its history is often intertwined with the history of Italian psychiatry of the last century, representing a leading scientific and cultural centre and, at the same time, a symbol of horror and rejection.
Half hospital and half prison, the J.P.H. houses almost 300 inmates judged mentally ill but still dangerous by the law-court.
In 1978, the so-called Basaglia Law (law n. 180/1978) outlawed all mental Italian asylums. Most of this modern law was not applied. Today there is in Italy a debate about the utility to keep still open the Judiciary Psychiatric Hospitals.
Unanime is the conviction that the J.P.H. have done their time and that institutions must propose new alternatives to promote care, rehabilitation and social reintegration of the mentally ill offender.