The idea of the need for criminal asylums appeared in Italy between 1870 and 1890. The Author presents the views of some notorious psychiatrists and criminologists of this period that are in favour of this psychiatric project: Cesare Lombroso, Gaspare Virgilio, Augusto Tamburini. The custodial institutions were planed to accommodate: people sentenced to prison who subsequently fell mentally ill; persons acquitted by justice due to their psychiatric disorders; or dangerous criminals and repeat offenders. The basic principle of the criminal asylum is to ensure social safety.
Keywords: Criminal asylums, psychiatry and criminology, social defence, criminal code, nineteenth century