HomeNewsBriefThousands of Brazilian Prisoners Escape After Xmas Leave
BRIEF

Thousands of Brazilian Prisoners Escape After Xmas Leave

BRAZIL / 23 JAN 2013 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

Over 2,400 Brazilian prisoners escaped after being given leave to return home over the Christmas and New Year's Eve period, in another indictment of Brazil’s malfunctioning penal system.

In total, 47,531 prisoners were granted a temporary release over the holidays, 5.1 percent of whom -- 2,416 -- did not return. In 2011, almost exactly the same proportionabsconded, reported G1.

The temporary releases are granted as a reward for good behavior for prisoners housed in semi-open prisons who have served at least one sixth of their sentence, for first-time offenders, or a quarter, for repeat offenders.

Prisoners are able to claim up to five releases a year to spend time with their family, usually for Mothers Day, Fathers Day, Children Day, Christmas and one other day of their choice.

In the state with the highest desertion rate, Sergipe, 21 percent of prisoners who were given leave absconded. The director of the Sergipe penal system, Manuel Lucio Torres, told G1 that some prisoners plan their escape by behaving well to secure the temporary release. Torres called for cases to be evaluated individually to determine if each prisoner is a flight risk, regardless of their behaviour.

InSight Crime Analysis

Brazil has the third largest prison population in the world, with over half a million inmates, and its penal system has become notorious for overcrowding, and criminal activity.

The country’s prisons are also the birthplace of some of Brazil’s most infamous gangs including the First Capital Command (PCC) and the Red Command (Comando Vermelho) and many criminal enterprises are still at least partially run from the inside.

As the festive period escapees were housed in low security prisons, it is unlikely many of them belonged to such feared criminal organizations. However there have been cases of inmates offending while on temporary release, and the sheer number of escapees suggests a serious issue. This could be curbed by the increased use of electronic tagging devices -- a nascent technology in the Brazilian penal system.

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.

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 / 7 OCT 2020

It was March 2020, not long after fear of the coronavirus began spreading across the Americas, when several major criminal…

BRAZIL / 16 SEP 2016

Prosecutors have charged Brazil's former President Luiz Inácio "Lula" da Silva for the first time with direct involvement in a…

BRAZIL / 9 MAY 2017

Authorities say clashes between rival criminal groups have led to a spike in murders in Brazil's biggest city, but other…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela El Dorado Investigation Makes Headlines

3 DEC 2021

InSight Crime's investigation into the trafficking of illegal gold in Venezuela's Amazon region generated impact on both social media and in the press. Besides being republished and mentioned by several…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…

THE ORGANIZATION

Backing Investigative Journalism Around the Globe

5 NOV 2021

InSight Crime was a proud supporter of this year's Global Investigative Journalism Conference, which took place November 1 through November 5 and convened nearly 2,000 journalists…