Infamous organised crime organisation The Camorra has been accused of rigging a state exam for prison guards in an attempt to get their own men inside the penal system. The ambitious Camorra is renowned for crimes including extortion, drug dealing and numerous murders across Italy.
The Camorra are one of the oldest mafia-type organisations in Italy, but the new accusations poses the first time that they have been believed to have tampered with national exams. The exams were set for 400 prison guard jobs, but 88 were said to have been caught wearing bracelets or carrying mobile phone covers containing the answers to the test, according to reports on Tuesday (24 May).
Prosecutors in Rome are now investigating what they fear maybe widespread corruption and organised cheating. Some of those caught were even carrying radio transmitters and earpieces where they were told the answers to some of the tests, according to Sky News.
The Italian state estimates that 7,000 gang members - including 700 senior members and mafia bosses - are held in the Italian prison system. The discovery has been met with protests from aspiring prison guards, demonstrating in front of the Justice ministry building in Rome.
As well as hoping to have their own men employed in the system, the Camorra is thought to have sold the answers to other applicants for as much as €25,000 (£19,125). The Justice Ministry wants to invalidate suspected exam results, which would cause disruption to potential candidates.
"It's shameful," said Donato Capece, the general secretary of Italy's biggest union for penitentiary workers, Sappe to Sky News. "We were the first ones to ask the ministry for clarity" after cheating was discovered, he added.
Some of the 7,700 trainee prison guards who took the exam protested in Rome on Monday (23 May), demanding the government immediately hire 1,000 new prison guards to replace the successful applicants. The Camorra 'mafia' - which hails from the Campania region - has two subgroups: the so-called metropolitan and provincial Camorra.
The Metropolitan arm is typical of the Naples area and is characterised by a very fragmented criminal scene, with a myriad of medium-small gangs controlling neighbourhoods and districts. Meanwhile. the provincial camorra refers instead, principally, to clans based in rural areas surrounding the city of Caserta.