Helping Milan’s prison inmates re-integrate, not re-offend

In the Italian prison system, the rate of re-offence is high and ex-criminals are marginalised. Programma 2121 is an innovative way to solve this complex issue.

Diversity and Inclusion
  • 25 Apr 2022
  • by
  • Lendlease Author Better Places

In Italy, prison inmates accumulate debt during their time in jail, which must be paid off after they leave. But finding work is hard for former inmates and the risk of re-offending is high.

In 2018, Lendlease Italy and the Italian Department of Justice came together to create an Innovation Laboratory for Justice at the Milan Innovation District development (MIND) to enhance the opportunities for employment and social inclusion of offenders in Milan’s prisons.

Enter Programma 2121 – it gives qualifying offenders within the Milanese prison system access to training and paid internships in a non-protected environment. The best part? Prisoners can take part in the project while they carry out their sentence. This enables them to upskill themselves to enter the workforce immediately upon release.

"Programma 2121 is an open, collaborative partnership between public and private, which has proven to be able to generate an innovative and concrete response to a complex issue in the Italian prison system,” said Nadia Boschi, curator of Programma 2121 for Lendlease.

“It’s not a philanthropic project and far from having a welfare approach, it’s a scalable social innovation model. The experience of these three years shows that it is possible to implement, with the collaboration of all parties, businesses, public administration, third sector and civil society, a model of sustainable, inclusive, and successful economic and social development".

A Trainee with Programma 2121 said, “I feel very lucky to have had this opportunity with Programma 2121. This has probably been one of the most significant experiences in my life, it has opened my eyes to many things I was not aware of. It has enriched me, very much”.

Programma 2121 has the potential to break a chain of poverty and marginalization, contributing significantly to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Third party impact results indicate the creation of AUD 2.4 million of social value, which includes improved financial position, feeling of dignity, and improved quality of life and family relationships for the participant, as well as cost savings for the government as a result of reduced offending.

To find out more about Programma 2121 visit


Programma 2121 is a Lendlease shared value partner and contributes towards our goal of creating $250 million (AUD) of social value by 2025. To learn more about our social value target and how we’re making a difference, visit

Diversity and Inclusion