Inside Brazil’s gang-ruled prisons

Inmates lining up to snort cocaine, booze-fuelled parties, and brazen escapes: these images from inside Brazil’s prisons are offering outsiders a graphic picture of the anarchic conditions in the world’s most populous penitentiary system.

Published: 12th January 2018 04:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th January 2018 02:19 AM   |  A+A-

Inmates lining up to snort cocaine, booze-fuelled parties, and brazen escapes: these images from inside Brazil’s prisons are offering outsiders a graphic picture of the anarchic conditions in the world’s most populous penitentiary system. The country had 7.26 lakh prison inmates as of June 2016, against a capacity of just 3.68 lakh. Surviving Brazil’s prisons is not a given. Nine inmates were murdered — some burned to death, others beheaded — in a riot in a prison in the state of Goias on New Year’s Day.

Bird’s eye view

Although the violence and overcrowding in Brazil’s prisons are no secret, Brazilians are getting a bird’s eye view of the conditions as disturbing cell phone videos secretly taken by inmates are finding their way into social media. One video, shot in a prison in southern Brazil, shows a long line of inmates that ends at a table on which 146 lines of cocaine are spread. One by one, the inmates snort the white powder as onlookers cheer.

Other videos show parties fuelled by drugs and booze, and even jailhouse murders. At the Luziania prison in Goias state, two inmates were filmed opening a hole in a fence for 10 prisoners to escape.

Drug gangs in charge

With few government resources and little political will for reform, Brazil’s bursting prisons have largely fallen under the control of drug gangs. Marcos Fuchs, who heads the prisoner rights group Conectas, estimates that 75 per cent of the detention centres are run by organized crime. “There are no body scanners or trained staff, there is corruption, and cell phones, alcohol and drugs are tolerated,” Fuchs said.

Weapons seizures

In 2017, the army conducted a sweep of 31 prisons by soldiers equipped with gear used by security teams during the Rio Olympics the year before. They seized 10,882 weapons — one for every two inmates. “Half of the prison population is armed,” said defence minister Raul Jungmann. “



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp