Tag: prisons

Brazil: Regain Control of Prison System


Protect Prisoners from Violence Behind Bars.

Brazil needs to seize control of its prison system from gangs and guarantee the safety of all detainees, Human Rights Watch said today.

“During the past several decades, Brazilian authorities have increasingly abdicated their responsibility to maintain order and security in prisons,” said Maria Laura Canineu, Brazil director at Human Rights Watch. “That failure violates the rights of prisoners and is a boon to gangs, who use prisons as recruiting grounds.”

On January 1 and 2, 2017, 60 detainees died in two prisons in the state of Amazonas, allegedly as a result of gang violence. Another 22 were killed in prisons in Roraima, Rondônia, and Acre in October 2016. Under Brazilian as well as international human rights law, Brazil’s government is obligated to protect prisoners from violence and abuse behind bars. Prisoners in Brazil are three times as likely to be homicide victims as members of the general population, according to the Ministry of Justice.

Prison Labor is Slavery by Another Name

Across the country the largest prison strike is taking place, vowing to “finally end slavery in 2016.”

Right now there’s a national movement mobilizing to raise the federal minimum wage to a living wage of $15 an hour. But imagine if instead of earning even that much, you could only earn a few cents an hour.

If that sounds like something from the developing world, think again. The reality is our prisons are perpetuating slave labor.

Every day, incarcerated people work long hours for barely any money. Meanwhile, prisons charge inmates for everything from telephone calls, to extra food and convenience items, to occupying a bed.

Torture was once ‘normal’ in Georgia’s prisons — this is how they ‘effectively abolished’ it

Georgia’s prisons used to be dirty and dangerous. Prisoners recounted beatings and NGOs reported institutionalised torture. But since 2012, there has been an amazing turnaround.

Georgia’s prisons once had a chilling reputation.

Former prisoners recount harrowing stories of institutionalised torture — beatings, simulated drowning, bones purposefully broken — at the hands of guards and other officials.

“[They] were beating me. They were insulting me…During torture they drowned [me] in [a] bucket full of water and threatened [me] with rape,” said one former prisoner in an anonymous testimony released by the government’s committee on human rights protection this year.