Calabria's Unbelievable Measure to End Mafia: Exile

Riccardo Cordi was exiled from his family.
A story published on MSN News describes the Cordi family whose men are part of the powerful Calabrian Mafia, the Ndrangheta, and also highlights a new measure the state is taking to stop that secret society from perpetuating itself.

"... Cosimo — husband, father and reputed clan boss — [was] gunned down on a bicycle during a turf war. And Salvatore, the eldest son, [was] recently ordered into solitary confinement while serving a 30-year murder sentence. ... [As for two other sons] Domenico... [is] jailed for Mafia crimes, and Antonio... [is] battling depression in a prison psychiatric ward."
Then there's Riccardo, the youngest, still a boy with melancholy eyes. Antonia Spano', the family matriarch, pauses before his portrait. 
By age 16, Riccardo seemed destined to go the way of his brothers; that's the rule of blood in Calabria's powerful 'ndrangheta clans, a global force in the cocaine trade. But his mother is tired of making prison pilgrimages up and down Italy, and wishes for him a different fate. And even in the 'ndrangheta, there's a chance for destiny to be derailed. 

Two summers ago, Riccardo became the first of about 20 young men from some of the most notorious crime families ordered by a court into exile, into a kind of rehab away from the mob. This daring tactic by a judge is threatening the 'ndrangheta by taking away its most precious asset: its sons.
.... Spano's [new home away from] home sits within a compound of clan residences, cut off from the outside by a forbidding steel fence. The matriarch walks through formal rooms with marble-topped tables and displays of crystal goblets, typical of affluent Calabria households, into a spotless kitchen that once hid a secret bunker.
... [The Judge] concluded that removal was the only way to save Riccardo from "an otherwise inescapable destiny." So, with a stroke of the pen, the judge banished him. And not just from the Cordi' home, but also from Locri, the seaside stronghold where so many of his kinsmen were slain, and from Calabria itself.

"So, I won't see my son?!" the mother cried. "How can I see my son?!"

"This is an 'ndrangheta family," he told her. "We want to avoid having Riccardo end up in jail, or slain like your husband. ... If you don't like it, we'll take him away anyway."

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Di Bella invoked a law that allows the state to remove minors from parents deemed unable to properly raise them, often children of drug addicts. 
Why not children of clansmen?
...Slowly, Riccardo began to change. 
Twice a week, he helped out at an after-school center for children from broken homes, even though doing something for nothing is an alien concept in the 'ndrangheta. Many had one parent, even two, in jail. Some fathers were convicted Mafiosi.
Riccardo was eventually allowed to visit home every other weekend. He took the ferry by himself to Calabria, where a family member would meet him. Each time [the counselor] Interdonato held his breath: Would he return?
Each time, he did. Once he brought nougat for the kids at the center as a Christmas treat.
...Just weeks before the end of exile, Riccardo rebelled. 
He didn't want to wait for his next visit home. Maybe he missed his mother's cooking. Or his girlfriend. 
If he broke the terms of his exile, he would fail probation over a past brawl in Calabria. That would give him a rap sheet — a formal entry point into criminal life. 
Riccardo packed his bags. He didn't care. He wanted out. 
Interdonato pleaded with him not to leave, but the boy was adamant. It took somebody else to make him listen: His mother.
The 'ndrangheta mom — who once spurted venom at the judge for taking away her son — had had a change of heart. Antonia Spano' crossed the Strait of Messina with a cream cake as a thank-you for Interdonato.
...The exile approach costs roughly six times less a day than keeping someone in an Italian prison, social workers say. And if it keeps another generation from growing up to be drug kingpins or killers, the potential savings are priceless. 
As for Spano', she is overjoyed to have her son home again — but also torn. She knows that for his own good, perhaps for his safety, he must leave Locri. Youth unemployment in Italy's south is staggeringly high, and for many youths the only reliable employer is organized crime.

So, what do you all think of this maneuver?  

Could it work? Could it have unintended consequences, such as help to turn them into better Mafiosi?


  1. Its a good idea but I don't know if it will work in the majority of cases, Italy has a bad knack of forgetting its good ideas after a while. who's to say he won't go back to a life of crime either.

  2. I'm torn. I think there's some merit; both the kid and the mother ultimately thought it was the right move. But the kids have to go home at some point. Law enforcement is the way to fight the mob. Also a thriving economy that offers good jobs and the chance for a better life certainly would help put younger men on the right path.

  3. Wave the magic wand and create an economy with high paying jobs for all

  4. Exile. Good way to spread Ndrangheta to other places.

  5. The Northern politicians are happy to surrender the South to the Mafia's unfortunately


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