UNODC Brazil holds international conference on prison management in response to organized crime

Brasília, 13 June 2022 – From 9 to 10 June, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Brazil held the international conference "Strengthening Prison Management and Inter-Institutional Cooperation: Pathways for the Response to Organized Crime in Prisons".

During the meeting, several aspects of prison management and their contributions to the response to organized crime were addressed, including intelligence practices, classification of prisoners and training of prison officers. The event also highlighted the relevance of inter-institutional and international cooperation for crime reduction. National and international practices on these topics were presented and informed fruitful dialogues between participating institutions.

Held in-person in Brasilia, the event was attended by representatives from 14 states and experts from 10 countries to promote technical debate on strategies for prison management and inter-institutional experiences in response to organized crime through the presentation and discussion of national and international initiatives focused on the containment of organized crime.


The opening ceremony was attended by Tânia Fogaça, Director-General of the National Penitentiary Department (DEPEN), Murilo Andrade, Secretary of Penitentiary Administration of Maranhão and President of the National Council of State Secretaries of Justice, Citizenship, Human Rights and Penitentiary Administration (CONSEJ), Elena Abbati, UNODC Brazil Representative and Douglas Koneff, Charge d'Affaires of the United States Embassy in Brazil.

Tania Fogaça highlighted the importance of the state presence in the prison system as a response to organized crime. "The solution [to the problem of organized crime in prisons] is summarized in one sentence: the state must be present inside the prison units. And this goes from the acquisition of a book to regaining control of a unit in crisis. This presence is portrayed in all investment actions in the prison system, and it is what will allow the state to diminish the power of organized crime within the prison system," she said.

The international conference promotion by UNODC relates to its role as guardian of the International Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and the three International Drug Control Conventions, as well as the International Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and the Bangkok Rules.

At the opening ceremony, Elena Abbati pointed out that "the adoption of multidisciplinary methodologies for the classification of prisoners in line with the best international practices, the articulation among agencies and training constitute a fundamental tripod to contain the expansion of organized criminal groups and to prevent their presence from threatening security and fundamental rights in prisons."

The conference was also attended by state secretaries responsible for prison administration from eight federal units and from all five Brazilian regions, as well as representatives of the Federal Police, the Public Prosecutor's Office of São Paulo and the Public Prosecutor's Office of Rio de Janeiro.

Project Organized Crime in Prisons and Drug Trafficking in a Regional Perspective

The international conference "Strengthening Prison Management and Inter-Institutional Cooperation: Pathways for the Response to Organized Crime in Prisons" was held as part of the UNODC project called "Organized Crime in Prisons and Drug Trafficking in a Regional Perspective". This initiative aims to promote the dissemination and adoption of innovative and inter-institutional practices to strengthen prison management and the fight against organized crime, in line with international minimum standards. This project is implemented with the support of the United States Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL).

For more information on UNODC's work on prison reform, click here, and for further information on UNODC’s support of Member States’ response to organized crime, click here



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