Brazil ex­pects more jail mas­sacres

Warwick Daily News - - NEWS -

MORE mas­sacres are feared in the Brazil­ian pri­son sys­tem be­cause of the gov­ern­ment’s fail­ure to ad­dress chronic over­crowd­ing.

Al­most 100 pris­on­ers have been slain in ri­ots this year in­volv­ing ri­val gangs.

On Jan­uary 1 and 2, 56 pris­on­ers were killed in a pri­son in the north­ern state of Ama­zonas, with some be­headed and their bod­ies thrown over the jail wall.

That clash be­tween ri­val gangs – the Fam­ily of the North and Brazil’s most pow­er­ful crim­i­nal or­gan­i­sa­tion, First Com­mand – was re­port­edly in­spired by drug wars out­side the pri­son.

In what has been widely re­ported as a re­venge at­tack by First Com­mand mem­bers, 33 pris­on­ers were killed on Jan­uary 6 in the neigh­bour­ing state of Ro­raima.

Many of the dead had their hearts and in­testines ripped out.

A fur­ther 10 in­mates were killed in smaller clashes in Ama­zonas and the north­east­ern state of Paraiba be­tween Jan­uary 2–9.

The gov­ern­ment has been crit­i­cised by le­gal and se­cu­rity ex­perts for fail­ing to im­prove con­di­tions in the coun­try’s jails and mak­ing it easy for First Com­mand to re­cruit new mem­bers and in­crease its con­trol across the na­tional pri­son sys­tem.

“The state has lost con­trol over prisons,” Clau­dio La­machia, chair­man of Brazil’s bar as­so­ci­a­tion, told Associated Press.

“Death is of­ten the only al­ter­na­tive for an in­mate who doesn’t want to co-op­er­ate with gangs.”

Survival in jail de­pends on pro­tec­tion and fi­nan­cial help of­fered to those in the gangs.

An in­ef­fi­cient and over­worked le­gal sys­tem means many pris­on­ers wait years for their cases to be heard.

Pres­i­dent Michel Te­mer has an­nounced plans to build five new prisons.


POW­DER KEGS: Brazil’s prisons are plagued by over­crowd­ing and vi­o­lence.

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