The United States state department has published a report on human rights worldwide on its official website www.state.gov. The part of the report devoted to Italy, states that Italy generally respects the rights of the people living in the country but it criticizes the overcrowding of Italys antiquated prisons where 91 people died last year, 51 of them suicides (Italian prison authorities put the number at 57) and the fact that some members of the security forces use excessive force when performing their duties. The overcrowding of reception centres for illegal immigrants comes in for comment and the report finds that working women in Italy are under-represented in management and professional positions and generally receive a lower salary than their male counterparts.

The American state department is critical of the slowness of legal procedures in Italy and a whole paragraph, under the heading Corruption and transparency of the government is dedicated to the advantages that the prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, has gained from the slow course of justice, and the advantages he has derived from changes that have been made in the laws during his government.

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