Brazilian prison riots: 60 dead at Manaus prison

03 Jan 2017 | Written by Ramya Patelkhana; Edited by Vaneet Randhawa

A prison riot in the Amazon region of Brazil claimed dozens of lives as fighting broke out between rival gangs.

According to the State's Prisons Administration Head, Pedro Florencio, the riot broke out at a prison in the capital of Amazonas state, Manaus.

He added 60 people have been declared dead so far.

Riots are not uncommon in Brazil's under-funded and overcrowded prisons.

In context: Prison violence in Brazil: Gang Wars

IntroductionThe crisis in the Brazilian prison system

The impunity of Brazilian authorities and corruption underlie the crisis that has become difficult to overcome.

The problems of the prison system are ill-treatment of inmates, overcrowding, lack of medical, legal, social aid for prisoners, and insufficient number of work and education programmes.

Increasing prison population, emergence of organized crime gangs within prisons, lack of official diligence, etc resulted in high prison violence.

FiguresPrison population more than double the capacity

The total prison population of Brazil is 622,202 (including pre-trial detainees/remand prisoners) as of 31 Dec'14.

The number of prison establishments/institutions in the country is 1,424 (as of Jun'14).

The official capacity of the Brazilian prison system is 371,884 (as of 31 Dec'14).

The occupancy level of all the prisons in the country is 157.2% (as of 31 Dec'14) of the official capacity.

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Notable prison riots

Some of the worst incidents of violence and riots in Brazilian prisons occurred in October 1992 (Carandiru), February 2001 (29 jails in Sao Paulo), January 2002 (Urso Branco), June 2004 (Rio de Janeiro's Benfica jail), and November 2010 (notorious Pedrinhas prison).
No official has ever been sentenced for prison riots

ViolenceNo official has ever been sentenced for prison riots

One of the biggest prisons of Latin America - Carandiru - was home to over 8,000 inmates.

It was here where Brazil's bloodiest prison uprising occurred; it was closed in 2002 after inmates across Brazil protested against prison conditions.

Nobody has ever been punished for prison violence.

Activists voiced outrage when a court declared the trial and sentence against 74 policemen "null" in Sep'16.

PrisonsThe conditions in Brazilian prisons

Several human rights groups across the world have long complained about the conditions in the prisons of Brazil.

According to a report by the Brazilian Justice Ministry, around 622,000 were imprisoned in the country, as of the end of 2014; most prisoners were African-Americans.

The report also said that it was the world's fourth highest prison population, after the US, Russia, and China.

October 2016Riots at three prisons across the country

Deadly riots erupted at three prisons due to fighting between two of Brazil's largest gangs - First Command of the Capital and Comando Vermelho.

On 18 Oct, riots in a Roraima prison broke out during visiting hours; 25 inmates were killed, and 100 visitors were taken hostage.

On the same day, eight inmates died after prisoners set mattresses alight in Porto Velho prison.

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Violence at a youth prison

On 31 Oct, a riot at a youth prison in Pernambuco state's Caruaru claimed lives of seven inmates. Prisoners set a part of the building on fire. There were 205 prisoners at the prison, which had a capacity for only 90 inmates.

03 Jan 2017Brazilian prison riots: 60 dead at Manaus prison

07 Jan 2017Another 33 killed in Brazil prison wars

After the ghastly massacre where 56 were killed, another prison in Brazil witnessed the killing of 33 inmates in a new prison uprising.

Experts had prognosticated more of such violence in Brazil's gang-controlled prison system.

The officials said they should prepare for more such killings in the wake of the massacre that took place earlier this week.

09 Jan 2017100 inmates killed in one week in Brazil's prisons

According to public safety officials, on Sunday, at least 4 inmates were killed in a facility in Manaus, the capital of Amazonas, Brazil.

This sent the number of violent prison clashes soaring up to over 100 in one week.

The violence, including several massacres with decapitations and disemboweling arises out of rivalry between drug gangs.

16 Jan 201710 killed in Natal prison riot in Brazil

Prisoners took control of Alacauz jail, the largest prison in Natal city in Brazil after a riot.

Authorities said at least 10 prisoners have been killed so far.

The riots began when rival gang members began attacking each other. Explosions and gunshots were heard coming from the prison.

Several prisoners were also killed in a riot at a prison in Rio Grande Do Norte.

18 Jan 2017Brazil to build 30 prisons in 2017

In order to ease chronic overcrowding in its penitentiary system, President Michel Temer of Brazil said that his country would build 30 prisons over the next one year.

According to Temer, the federal government will build 5 maximum security prisons to house the most violent criminals.

Brazil's penitentiary system is the 4th largest in the world and is home to more than 620,000 convicts.