UNODC note on rebellion in Manaus prison

Brasilia, 6 January, 2017 - The massacre at the Anísio Jobim Penitentiary Complex (Compaj) in Manaus, last Monday, 2 January, had as its main motives a kind of war between rival factions FDN (Northern Family) and PCC (First Command of the Capital) and overcrowding (Compaj has capacity for 454 prisoners and sheltered 1,224 at the time of the slaughter).

UNODC Liaison and Partnership Office reiterates its commitment to evidence-based public security policies that seek alternatives to mass incarceration.

Brazil currently ranks fourth in the world in terms of the number of people in prison. Of the approximately 600,000 detainees, 1/3 is incarcerated for drug-related offenses and a considerable part of this population is made up of interim detainees awaiting trial for months, sometimes for years.

After visiting Brazil in 2015, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture has recommended the adoption of immediate measures to reduce the overcrowding of prison units, which favors the spread of infectious diseases such as Tuberculosis and HIV, malnutrition and drug use among other human rights violations.

As in many countries, the Brazilian prison system is ineffective in the recovery and social reintegration of detainees, as well as contributes to the growth of crime by being dominated by organizations such as those that motivated the Manaus massacre.

This critical moment requires a broad debate on how to articulate respect for human rights with the control of organized crime in the Brazilian prison system. This is because frequent violations, including torture and ill-treatment, as well as inadequate and unhealthy conditions of incarceration, have contributed to the emergence and strengthening of organized groups.

The UNODC representation reiterates its commitment to support Brazil in the search for comprehensive and multisectoral solutions to drug issues and the criminal justice system.

"We thank our UN Online Volunteer, Juliana Nogueira, for her contribution to the translation of this article".  Juliana is an online volunteer mobilised through". 

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