How Bad Could Italian Prison Possibly Be?

UPI is reporting that over 700 inmates in Italy who are serving life sentences are in the middle of a hunger strike to achieve their goal of . . .wait for it. . . the reinstatement of the death penalty!

Apparently, death is so much more desirable than life imprisonment there that the hunger strike movement has hit at least 50 other penitentiaries since its conception. The article (linked to above) quotes the group's spokesperson as saying that the movement is a follow up to "the collective request of 310 lifers last June asking for the reinstatement of the death penalty for themselves" because they were "tired of dying a little bit every day" and preferred "to die once and for all."

Which leads us to the question posed in the title: How bad could these prisons be? The American justice system has had its share of inmates who would prefer the death penalty (and some who fought legally for it), but 700? For god's sake, even the Guantanamo prisoners aren't asking for death, and who knows what they have to deal with! What's the matter, Italian lifers? The prison spaghetti isn't like Mama used to make?

On a serious note, I don't think that these inmates really understand the death penalty, or death itself. In fact, I think their hunger strike is trivializing the predicament of people all over the world who are going to get executed and would love to have the chance to "die a little every day" instead. A bowl of spaghetti every day, no matter how bad, has got to be better than knowing that this is your last bowl of spaghetti, however good.