HomeNewsAnalysisBrazilian Prison System on Verge of Collapse
ANALYSIS

Brazilian Prison System on Verge of Collapse

BRAZIL / 4 JAN 2011 BY INSIGHT CRIME EN

An editorial published Monday outlines the imminent collapse of Brazil's penitentiary system that cannot keep up with the higher number of Civil Police (PC) and Military Police (PM) arrests, as well as increased court convictions.

The editorial, printed by the national newspaper O Estado de San Paolo, cites a report on human rights put together by a group of São Paulo University (USP) professors and researchers linked to NEV, the Violence Study Center, a group focused on Latin America criminal sociology.

Brazil's prison population now stands at close to 500,000; the third largest in the world behind the United States and China. According to the report, from 2005 to 2007 the number of male convicts increased 16.2 percent and the number of female convicts by 27.52 percent. The study concludes that the prison occupancy rate increased from 1.4 convicts per opening in the system to 1.8.

The overcrowding is attributed to tougher law enforcement. According to the National Justice Council (CNJ) from 2000 to 2010 the percentage of convicts incarcerated on drug related charges increased from 9 to 22.

Among Brazil's prisoners, 56 percent have been convicted and 44 percent await trial. Some 60,000 people are lodged at police station prisons. Courts issued some 500,000 arrest warrants that have not been served. Due to the deplorable penitentiary conditions rehab efforts fail; the rate of repeat offenders stands at close to 70 percent against 16 percent in Europe and the United States.

Criminal gangs in Brazil are known to run kidnapping, extortion, drug and arm-trafficking schemes from behind bars. The most powerful of the prison gangs is the First Command of the Capital (PCC), thought to consist of 6,000 members. The PCC has known links with Brazil's most notorious drug trafficking organization, Comando Vermelho, also created in prison.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

BRAZIL / 28 JUN 2022

Prosecutors, mayors, prison directors, relatives of officials - are assassinations here to stay in Paraguay?…

BRAZIL / 24 MAY 2021

Of the nearly 140 reporters killed in Mexico, Colombia, Brazil and Honduras during the past decade, about half covered organized…

BRAZIL / 9 JUN 2021

Manaus, the economic heart of Brazil’s Amazon, has come under siege from the Red Command gang after the killing of…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…

THE ORGANIZATION

‘Ndrangheta Investigation, Exclusive Interview With Suriname President Make Waves

2 DEC 2022

Two weeks ago, InSight Crime published an investigation into how Italian mafia clan the ‘Ndrangheta built a cocaine trafficking network from South America to ‘Ndrangheta-controlled Italian ports. The investigation generated…