CASSANO ALL'JONIO, Italy (AP) - Pope Francis has visited a prison in Calabria, a region infested by organized crime, on a day trip to Italy's underdeveloped south.
Arriving Saturday morning by helicopter from Rome, Francis spoke to 200 inmates in Castrovillari. Calabria is the power base of the 'ndrangheta, a crime syndicate that is a global drug trafficker.
Then he headed to Cassano all'Jonio, where a 3-year-old boy in January was shot to death in a car that was then torched. Soon after the attack, blamed on drug turf wars, Francis expressed horror and promised to visit the town. The pope met privately with the boy's father and two grandmothers.
During his trip, Francis also comforted residents in a hospice. One of the doctors, at the pope's request, removed a bothersome wooden splinter from one his fingers, local organizers said.
The Vatican said Francis, who has put those on the edges of society at the heart of his papacy, was lunching with poor people and drug addicts in a rehabilitation facility.