HomeNewsBriefBrazil Pre-Trial Detention Law May Yet Reduce Prison Overcrowding
BRIEF

Brazil Pre-Trial Detention Law May Yet Reduce Prison Overcrowding

BRAZIL / 8 JAN 2013 BY ELYSSA PACHICO EN

A 2011 law, aimed at curbing the use of pre-trial detention, has reportedly helped reduce the number arrests made by Brazil’s Federal Police by as much as 40 percent, raising the prospect that the law could eventually help ease the strain on the country’s overcrowded prisons. 

As Folha reports, an internal assessment by the Federal Police found that the number of arrests made during police operations dropped 40 percent since July 2011. Some experts attribute the decrease to a judicial reform law that was passed during that time. 

The law made it possible for judges to use other measures besides having police arrest suspected criminals, in anticipation of a trial. According to Conectas, a think-tank that tracks judicial reform and human rights issues in Brazil, prior to 2011 judges only had two options for suspects awaiting trial: arresting them or letting them walk free. The 2011 law expanded the power of the courts, allowing them to rely on measures including house arrests and electronic tracking bracelets. 

InSight Crime Analysis

There are other factors that could account for the decreased number of arrests across Brazil. Under President Dilma Rousseff’s administration, Brazil’s security forces have focused on border security. As one federal police chief told Folha, this has resulted in plenty of seized material — including drug shipments and weapons — but police operations have not resulted in many arrests, in these scarcely populated and rural border regions. 

Still, it is worth asking whether the 2011 law — known as Law 12.403 — could be reducing both the number of arrests and the misuse of pre-trial detention inside Brazil. In 2009, Brazil’s main organ for judicial reform, the National Justice Council, found that one in five of pre-trial detainees had been imprisoned irregularly. This has helped contribute to the severe overcrowding of Brazil’s prisons — prison capacity was 166 percent nationwide in 2011 — which in turn has helped feed the growth of prison gangs like the First Capital Command (PCC).

Compartir icon icon icon

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.

Related Content

BRAZIL / 11 APR 2012

Brazil's chief of the joint staff said the armed forces are set to carry out a joint security crackdown with Venezuela along…

HUMAN RIGHTS / 1 OCT 2015

A new report from Mexico’s National Commission on Human Rights documents the deplorable conditions in the nation's prisons, highlighting a…

MEXICO / 24 FEB 2012

Mexico's prison system is slipping into anarchy, with inmates escaping and slaughtering one another at alarming rates. InSight Crime considers…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…