University of Minnesota

Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Brazil, Inter-Am. C.H.R., OEA/Ser.L/V/II.97, Doc. 29 rev.1 (1997).







1. The Commission has received information alleging detention and prison conditions which violate human rights in Brazilian jails and the resultant situation of constant rebellion, to which government agents in many cases react heedlessly, with excessive violence and a lack of control.

2. The Federal Constitution and Brazilian laws contain progressive measures that respect the rights and treatment which the prisoners should be given and that indicate the way their sentences should be carried out.(1) The National Council on Criminal and Penal Matters, an organ under the Federal Ministry of Justice, dictates the policies and directives on the prevention of crime; administration of criminal justice; serving of sentences; security measures; and drafting of the national penitentiary program.(2) The administration of penal centers is the responsibility of the Executive Branch in each of the Federated States, through the Secretariats of Justice and Public Safety. External supervision of the penitentiary system is the responsibility of the Judiciary in each State.(3)

3. An official census conducted in 1994 showed that 175 of the 297 penal establishments in Brazil are in very poor condition and 32 are undergoing construction. The prison population consists of close to 130,000 inmates, 96.31 of whom are men and 3.69% are women; 51% of the prisoners have been convicted of theft or robbery; 17% for homicide; 10% for drug trafficking; and the remainder for other offenses.(4) It is important to note that 95% of the convicts are indigent and 97% are illiterate or semi-illiterate. The rate of recidivism in the penal population is 85%, which shows that the prisons are not performing their duty to rehabilitate the inmates.

4. As a result of information received during its in situ visit, and other information, the Commission finds that the major problems facing Brazil's penal system include as follows.

Overpopulation and Crowding

5. The capacity of Brazil's prison system is officially estimated at 51,639. In other words, out of a universe of 130,000 inmates, there is a shortfall of about 75,000, or close to 2.5 prisoners for each place.(5) According to these official figures, at least 150 new prisons will have to be built to offset that shortfall. Other sources suggest that the numerical situation is far more serious, indicating that the prisons are housing between five and six times more inmates than they are actually designed to hold.(6) &(7)

6. This lack of space, overcrowding and overpopulation was noted by the Commission when it visited the Carandiru House of Detention(8) in the Third Police District ("Delegation") in the City of Sao Paulo, where a police official of that center stated that it was a real "depository of prisoners." The Commission saw that in a space of about three by four meters (12 m2), designed to house six prisoners, almost twenty people ate and slept there, without beds or any minimal comfort, frequently sitting or standing up for lack of space.(9) The Commission walked into the central patio: it was an awesome sight, filled with prisoners who stood there, filling almost every centimeter of the area. Such was the lack of space that in order for the members of the Commission to move about and talk with them, the prisoners themselves had to push through the crowd to open a pathway. The Commission was told that the patio itself housed many of them, who slept piled up together--sitting, standing, exposed to rain and inclement weather. Some of the prisoners showed the sores on their legs, produced by sleeping on the floor.

7. A factor that particularly concerned the Commission (and was corroborated by the prison census) is that the lack of space is so great that 48% of those convicted serve out their sentences in facilities of a provisional nature--for example, in the jails at police headquarters. This means that all too frequently, people who are simply being detained, booked and/or arrested for the first time mingle with those who have been sentenced for serious crimes. That, as will be seen further on, is a violation of international standards and a source of serious injuries for some categories of prisoners.

8. The present Government is aware of the problem of overcrowding in prisons and this is reflected in its National Human Rights Program to deal with the overcrowding in prisons. The short-term aim is: i) to create new facilities and increase the number of places, using money from the National Penitentiary Fund to do so; 2) to propose legislation that will introduce sentences consisting of alternatives to prison for nonviolent crimes; and, in the medium term, 3) to encourage a streamlining of judicial procedures in order to reduce the number of detainees awaiting sentence.

9. In the case of Carandiru, the Government informed the Commission about the agreement between the federal government and the state of Sao Paulo to decommission the Carandiru Penitentiary Complex. Nine new prisons will be built within a short time; six will be medium security units and one will be a detention center for prisoners who have not received their final sentence (each unit will have a capacity of 600 prisoners). The second phase of the plan calls for building 25 more prisons, each holding 600 persons.

10. According to the government, these new prisons will take care of the space problem. They will also create a better environment for returning the prisoners to society. In Sao Paulo, where the problem is worst, the state government is already taking other steps to keep overcrowding and riots from leading to a repetition of incidents such as the one at Carandiru where 111 prisoners died during the police action. In recent prison riots, the willingness of the government to act with rigor, while respecting human rights at the the same time, averted deaths in situations as complicated or more complicated than Carandiru. This outcome was thanks to measures to control the use of force. The authority responsible for giving the order to enter the prisons and put down the riots always heads the force. Only graduate officers carry firearms. Surrenders are common because guarantees are given that there will be no reprisals or torture. The shock troops are better trained.

11. To reduce the pressure on Brazil=s prison system and bring about faster return of inmates to society, the federal executive has sent a draft bill to the National Congress extending the application of alternative sentences to deprivation of liberty. The objective is to reach above all those individduals who have committed crimes against public property, and to have these persons restore what was destroyed or to repay public money that they had taken improperly. Right now the alternative sentences are applied only to those who are sentenced to up to one year in prison. If the new bill passes, however, this benefit will be extended to those who have been given up to five years.

12. The Commission had the opportunity in July of 1997 to visit two of Brazil's penal system establishments which are examples of a serious and scientific effort to develop new models to treat and rehabilitate prisoners.

One of these was the Papuda Penitentiary Center, located in the federal district of Brasilia, where, besides acceptable compliance with international treatment standards, there are re-entry programs based on productive labor both in and outside the prison for an large segment of the inmate population. The Commission was also able to see other initiatives (painting workshops, theater, apprenticeships, library) that are helpful in reaching the objective of rehabilitation which should be the norm for all penal facilities.

The other establishment visited that should be mentioned is the Penal Hospital of Niteroi, in the state of Rio de Janeiro, which is part of the Office of the Secretary of Justice and Interior of that state. The Penal Hospital carries out a systematic plan of curative and preventive medical care for the inmates of that jurisdiction with its modern resources and through the development of experimental initiatives that hold great potential.

Hygiene and Health Care(10)

13. The Commission was able to observe the substandard hygienic conditions of prison life and the lack of adequate medical and psychological treatment for the convicts. According to statements from the prisoners themselves, in the event of a fight or illness, it is they who must take care of the wounded or sick.(11) During its visit to the Women's Penitentiary in Sao Paulo, the Commission heard the prisoners' complaints about the lack of medical care, especially in the areas of gynecology and dentistry, as well as the lack of vehicles to transport the patients to the doctor or hospital. The collective bathrooms here were inadequate and unhygienic.

14. Similarly, the Commission had occasion to visit a ward of AIDS patients. They lay on their cots, virtually abandoned and with a lack of hygiene. This serious disease is particularly prevalent among prisoners in the large urban centers, and roughly 25% of the prisoners at the police centers and public jails carry the HIV virus. When the patients reach the terminal stage of AIDS, it is difficult to find persons to help them or take them to hospitals.(12)

15. In the Commission's visit to the Prison of Carandiru and to the 3rd Police District, many prisoners complained that gastric, urological, dermatitis, pneumonia and ulcerous ailments were not adequately treated, informing that many times there were not even available the basic remedies to treat them.

16. The Commission received complaints that when the ailing prisoners need to be taken to care facilities or hospitals to receive a particular type of medical or emergency treatment, the military police corps (the agency responsible for escorting or transporting the prisoners to hospitals) at times refused to do so or delayed its escort services with no justification whatsoever--which very often resulted in worsening of the patient's condition.(13)

Food, clothing and beds(14)

17. There were numerous complaints from prisoners at the different penal centers visited by the Commission that the amount of food they received was inadequate; that they suffered from the lack of heating facilities; that when it rained, they got wet, and since the only clothes they had were the ones they had on, they were forced to continue wearing wet garments day after day.

they had to wear wet clothing.

18. At the same time, we were told that the inmates who had money could obtain extra food and clothing. The Commission is struck, in particular, by the findings of studies (which coincide with the testimony it received) to the effect that food is often sidetracked in the prisons, which results in an increase of violence(15), with the tragic consequences documented in this chapter.

Legal assistance and requests for prisoners' benefits(16)

19. Almost without exception, the visiting members of the Commission received complaints from the prisoners about the length of time needed to process their requests for the benefits to which the law entitles them and the complexity of the legal proceedings required to obtain those benefits, a process that is still more aggravated by the lack of adequate legal assistance.(17) Those legal benefits include the transfer to open or semi-open facilities; the reduction or remission of a sentence (one day thereof is knocked off for every three days of work performed); and release of convicts when they have served the time set in their respective sentences.

20. As told by the prisoners with whom the Commission met, 80% of the inmates have already served one-sixth of their sentence and are therefore entitled to be transferred to a semi-open system, and 50% of them have served enough time to be eligible for transfer to an open system. But because the procedures are so lengthy and complicated, they are obliged to remain in the closed system. It was also said that at least 50% of the prisoners in Rio de Janeiro could be given conditional freedom, but have not been able to obtain this benefit due to the lack of lawyers to handle the processing required.(18)

Family ties and visits(19)

21. The Commission received complaints from prisoners who said that it was practically impossible to have any intimacy with their spouses or members of their families when they were visiting. They also reported that the prison officials often collected money from the family members before allowing the visits to take place.

Rehabilitation,(20) lack of opportunities for work(21) and recreation(22) inside the prisons

22. One of the functions which the serving of a sentence should perform is rehabilitation of the individual, so that he may insofar as possible obtain a harmonious reinsertion into society. Productive work in a penitentiary is considered to be an indispensable method for accomplishing that objective.(23)

23. However, many of the prisoners interviewed by the Commission complained of having no work in the prisons, saying that they spent the whole day sleeping or walking from one side to the other.(24) In this regard, the Prison Census states that 89% of the inmates do not perform any work, whether pedagogical or productive, and this is one of the most decisive causes of tensions and revolts in prisons. It should be noted that most of the detainees performed productive work before being put in prison.(25)

24. The fact that Brazil's prison population is significantly young, with 68% of the inmates less than 25 years of age, makes it all the more necessary to carry out effective rehabilitation policies for the inmates along with the possibility of work, inasmuch as this represents a group of people who could have a productive life in the future.

25. The Commission also received complaints from the inmates who complained about the lack of recreation--a situation which also tends to increase the existing climate of violence (cf. the Rebellions and Killings in Penal Centers).

Separation of the inmates by category(26)

26. The Commission was also able to verify--from statements by the prisoners that were confirmed by prison officials--that many of the penal centers fail to divide the inmates in accordance with the nature of the offense or by age. On the contrary, the inmates at many facilities designed for temporary detention live side by side with those sentenced for various reasons (first-time offenders and recidivists): minors and adults held in preventive imprisonment, those caught in flagrante delicto, and suspects in temporary custody subject to investigation.(27)

27. One of the principal reasons for finding it necessary to separate prisoners into categories is, among other factors, to prevent prisoners with a criminal record of exerting harmful influence on first-time delinquents or those undergoing investigation, to facilitate social readaptation and to ensure the physical safety of the detainees. The Commission was told, both by prison personnel and by the prisoners, that the jails were being turned into veritable schools for crime, where the experienced inmates taught the younger ones how to carry out different unlawful acts and established ties and dependencies geared to crime in a world of unlawful conduct from which escape is difficult, and which the prison system in fact fosters.

Disciplinary measures

28. The Commission was also able to note the continued existence of isolation cells ("celas fortes") to which, according to the information, prisoners who have committed disciplinary faults are sent following a summary proceeding. They are kept there for up to thirty days and during that time--according to the prisoners' statements--they are subject to further punishments.

Prison personnel

29. In the performance of their duties, prison staff are supposed to respect and protect human dignity, and to maintain and defend the human rights of all persons.(28) The Commission received testimony that members of the prison staff very often mete out inhumane, cruel and despotic treatment to the inmates, which can take the form of torture.(29) This is due primarily to the lack of adequate special training of the prison staff in regard to human rights and the treatment to be given the prisoners; the shortage of, and low wages paid to, the personnel; and the lack of proper supervision and control, with the consequent impunity.(30)

30. Brazil's prison system lacks sufficient staff. According to the figures cited in the prison census, the ratio is eleven prisoners to each staff member--far from the number recommended by the United Nations, which is three to one.

31. The Commission is encouraged by the plans of the Brazilian Government to upgrade the training of prison personnel(31) and notes this will be carried out as part of a broader project including recruitment and training, plus the improvement of working conditions for the such staff.

The shortfall of resources

32. Prison officials informed the Commission that one of the principal problems plaguing the system is the lack of a suitable budgetary allocation for the prison system, which keeps the service quality low. In 1992, for example, the Department of Prison Affairs asked the federal budget authorities for the sum of US$22,743,000. The allocation approved by the National Congress was US$5,091,000--and only US$1,873,650 of that amount was actually disbursed.(32)


33. An average of two revolts and three escapes occur every day in Brazil's penal centers.(33) The causes of such situations are very varied. The prisoners claim that they consist of the physical conditions; the food; the lack of legal, medical and religious assistance; overpopulation; minimal conditions of treatment; violence on the part of the jailers; and the inefficacy of the control and complaint organs. Some of the prison staff, for their part, suggest that the revolts are used to cover prisoners' attempts at a mass escape.

34. Prison rebellions have on many occasions had tragic consequences, costing the lives of many prisoners and guards. When the prison authorities have decided not to negotiate with the rebels and choose to quell the riots with violence, both guards and inmates have died; but when the authorities negotiate, the death toll is lower. One study has compared a sample of rebellions with the results produced by following different strategies. It found that in the 11 revolts that occurred between September of 1986 and April of 1988, there were no deaths in the six cases where negotiation was used. By contrast, the five cases where there was no negotiation and violence was used against the rebels, resulted in 47 deaths of both guards and prisoners.(34)

35. A slaughter took place on October 2, 1992 at the Carandiru House of Detention in the city of Sao Paulo. The judicial investigation showed that the military police opened fire on naked and defenseless prisoners in the prison's Eight Ward. That act of violence resulted in the death of 111 prisoners, riddled with bullet holes from the shots of the military police in question.(35)

36. Given the large number of people who have died inside prison walls due to the irrational and indiscriminate use of force, the Commission wishes to point out that the use of force by prison personnel should be permitted only in exceptional cases, subject to the criteria of being found reasonably necessary--depending on the circumstances--to prevent crime, and in due proportion to those circumstances.(36) Negotiation should be the instrument of choice and customary use, and to that end the staff should be trained in appropriate techniques by specialists. The use of firearms is considered to be an extreme measure, so that every possible step must be taken to avoid that recourse. In general, firearms should not be used at all, except when the presumed offender offers armed resistance or in any way endangers the lives of other persons, and the presumed offender cannot be fended off or detained by applying less extreme measures.


37. The purpose of depriving persons of liberty, among others, is to separate dangerous individuals from society to protect it from crime, and the reform and social readaptation of the persons sentenced. To this end, the prison system must use every curative, educational, moral, spiritual or other means and every form of assistance available to it to reduce as much as possible the conditions which weaken the prisoner's sense of responsibility, the respect for the dignity of his person and his capacity for social rehabilitation.

38. The analysis which we have conducted on prison reality in Brazil shows that in many prisons the inmates are being held in unsatisfactory conditions, which could be a violation of the American Convention on Human Rights and other international instruments on those rights. Most of the inmates in Brazil are to all intents and purposes mistreated and unprotected, and any effective rehabilitation and readaptation is quite unlikely, given the conditions in the prisons and the prison personnel in charge.

39. In the face of this reality, the Commission considers the measures which the Government of Brazil plans to carry out in the short, medium and long terms, as noted in the National Human Rights Program, to be indispensable; to require all of the political, technical and financial energy necessary; and to be mustered with the utmost priority.

40. The Commission in order to stimulate the Government of Brazil to carry out their prison program recommends:

Application of prison measures

That adequate measures be adopted to improve the situation of its penitentiary system and the treatment which the prisoners receive in order to comply fully with the provisions set forth in its Constitution and laws and the international treaties to which Brazil is a party. In this respect, it is recommended that the UN Minimum Standards for Treatment of Detainees be effectively applied as guidelines.

Physical conditions in prisons

That the capacity and number of places in the prison system be increased substantially in order to remedy the serious current problem of overpopulation; and, at the same time, that the conditions of physical soundness, sanitary facilities and workshops and recreation be established in accordance with international standards.

Hygiene and health care

That conditions of hygiene and health care be improved in prison establishments, police headquarters and jails, and that the detainees and prisoners, with no exception, be promptly and effectively given the necessary medical care they need and that whenever required, they be transported to assistance centers without any delay whatsoever. That the necessary services for AIDS patients and HIV carriers be established, and that all discrimination inappropriate to their condition be prohibited.

Food and clothing

That the prisoners be provided with adequate food and a balanced diet containing the required calorie content. That measures be taken to avoid any diversion of the food supply which unlawfully favors certain prisoners and/or which is the result of administrative corruption.

Legal assistance

That all necessary measures be taken to provide real and effective legal assistance at no cost for those who need it and cannot pay for it throughout all stages of the judicial process.

That the benefits and privileges to which the prisoners are entitled pursuant to the law be recognized and granted, promptly and effectively, in particular as regards the remission of sentences, pardons, family visits, and the like.

That the judicial processes which keep unsentenced prisoners in jail be accelerated, and that they be released if they have complied with the legally authorized maximum.

That standards relative to alternative serving of sentences be effectively embodied in the law

Rehabilitation and separation of prisoners by category

That the persons held in preventive prison be separated from those sentenced, and that the latter be separated according to the type and gravity of the offense and the age of the prisoners.

That the prisoners be given opportunities to work, as well as educational, rehabilitation-oriented and recreational programs that will help in their rehabilitation and reinsertion into society.

Disciplinary measures

That the isolation cells or "celas fortes," when they violate international standards, be eliminated, and that effective and timely means of internal control be established in the prison system in order to punish members of the prison staff who are responsible for abuses and acts of violence against the prisoners.

Prison agents

That suitable training and specialization programs be set up for the agents responsible for the security, administration and surveillance of prisons, and that

the ratio of prison personnel to the prisoners be raised to meet to comply with international standards.

Allocation of resources

That the federal and state prison system be given the necessary monetary and material resources to carry out all of the plans and meet the goals set by the National Human Rights Program; and that they suffice to conform to the minimum conditions and security required pursuant to the pertinent international instruments.

Coping with situations of violence

That policies, strategies, techniques and suitable personnel for avoiding and resolving situations of violence among the prisoners be introduced.




1. Article 5, sections XLI, XLIII, XLVIII, and XLIX of the Federal Constitution establish the following measures:

Every person is equal before the law, without distinction of any kind; Brazilians and resident foreigners are guaranteed the inviolability of the right to life, liberty, equality, security and property in the following terms:

XLI. The law shall punish any discrimination that violates basic rights and liberties.

XLVI. The law shall regulate and individualize penalties and shall adopt the following measures, among others: (...)

XLVIII. Sentences shall be served in different establishments, based on the nature of the crime, and the age and sex of the convict.

XLIX. Prisoners' physical and moral integrity shall be respected.

Law 7210-84 on the execution of sentences deals at length with the treatment of prisoners, indicating among other items that they shall be given material assistance in regard to health care; education; legal, social and religious matters while serving the sentence and at the time they are released.

2. Cf. the Law on the Execution of Sentences, Articles 62 through 64.

3. There are also other agencies--such as the Community Council and the Penitentiary Council--which are responsible for supervisory tasks in the prison system.

4. Core Studies on Violence and the Teotonio Vilela Commission, "Human Rights in Brazil in 1995," University of Sao Paulo New CTV, 1995, pages 125-126.

5. Edmundo Olivera, The Penitentiary Census and the Existential Cruelty of Prisons in Brazil, the Ministry of Justice (1993).

6. Chamber of Deputies Parliamentary Inquiry Commission to Investigate the Situation of Brazil's Penitentiary System, "Final Report," page 12.

7. The situation is further aggravated by the fact that the prison population has been increasing considerably. In the State of Sao Paulo, the number of prisoners has grown by more than 75% in recent years. Idem, page 7.

The lack of space is even more alarming when we consider that 345,000 of the prison sentences issued by the judicial authorities have not even been served. If they are to be carried out, the size of the prison system will have to be expanded to at least four times its present capacity.

8. Carandiru is the prison with the largest number of inmates in Latin America. Under the terms laid down in its National Human Rights Program, the Government of Brazil plans to deactivate the facility.

9. In Brazil, the usual practice is that the number of prisoners be twice that of the cement beds ("stones") in the jails of the police districts. All too often, the number can be three times that many. As a result, the prisoners have to take turns sleeping, or sleep on the floor. In the oldest police districts, the facilities don't even have cement beds in the cells and all of the prisoners have to sleep on the floor. National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, National Coordination of the Pastoral Prison Facilities. How to Create Pastoral Prison Facilities, 1995, page 22.

The United Nations Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Convicts in this respect call for 9.1. The cells or rooms for nocturnal isolation must not be occupied by more than one prisoner. If for special reasons--such as a temporary excess of prison population--the central penitentiary administration should find it indispensable to make any exceptions to this rule, the placement of two convicts in each cell or individual room must be avoided." The Commission walked into the central patio: an awesome sight. The prisoners standing there, dirty and half-naked, occupied practically every last centimeter of the area. It was so crowded that in order for the members of the Commission to move around and talk to them, the prisoners had to make an opening between the ranks. The Commission was told that the patio served as housing for many of them, who sleep.

10. On this point, the United Nation's Minimum Rules for Treatment of Inmates stipulates:

15. Inmates shall be required to have good personal hygiene and to that end, they shall have available to them all the water and personal hygiene articles necessary for health and cleanliness.

22.1) Every penal facility shall have the services of at least one qualified physician who shall have some knowledge of psychiatry [...]. 2) sick persons whose condition requires special care must be transferred to specialized penal facilities or to civil hospitals [...]. 3) every inmate shall have available to him the services of a qualified dentist.

23.1) Facilities for women inmates must have special installations for the treatment of pregnant inmates [...].

11. The Pastoral Carcelaria notes in this context that illness in prison is hazardous, for only a very few prisons provide adequate medical care. At the same time, public hospitals are loath to attend sick prisoners on the premise that such cases occupy the beds needed for honest and hard-working citizens. As a rule, no medication is available, even for a simple headache. Op. cit. 9 at 21.

12. Idem Op. Cit. 9 page 21.

13. Prisoners with minor ophthalmological problems had apparently gone blind because they were never taken to the public hospital. At times, a simple infection of a toe ended up with amputation of half the leg because the military police (MP) escort did not come or arrived too late for the patient to arrive for the hospital appointment. "The worst of it is that no one has power over the MP, which does what it wants to do." Idem Op. Cit. 9, page 87.

14. The United Nations Minimum Rules for Treatment of Inmates points out in this connection: "20.1) Every inmate shall receive from the administration, at normal hours, high quality food that is well prepared and served, whose nutritional value is sufficient for maintenance of his health and strength. 2) Every inmate shall be able to drink potable water whenever he needs it." 17.1) Every inmate who is not permitted to wear his own clothing shall receive clothing appropriate to the climate and sufficient to keep him in good health [...]."

15. See ops. cit in 4, 6, 9.

16. Article 8.2 of the American Convention states that:

"Every person accused of a criminal offense has the right to be presumed innocent so long as his guilt has not been proven according to law. During the proceedings, every person is entitled, with full equality, to the following minimum guarantees."

Subparagraph (e) thereof cites: "the inalienable right to be assisted by counsel provided by the state, paid or not as the domestic law provides, if the accused does not defend himself personally or engage his own counsel within the time period established by law."

In addition, Article 25 of the Convention notes that "Everyone has the right to simple and prompt recourse, or any other effective recourse, to a competent court or tribunal for protection against acts that violate his fundamental rights recognized by the constitution or laws of the state concerned or by this Convention.

17. Most of the prisoners require legal assistance to recover their freedom and to obtain the legal benefits to which they are entitled. Given the indigent status of the great majority of the inmates, such assistance must be free of charge and comprehensive, as guaranteed by the Constitution. The information given to the Commission, which appears to be corroborated by other sources is that, to the contrary, the State appoints a few lawyers to meet the legal needs of all of the prisons and 'lock-ups.'" Op. cit. 9 pages 20-21.

18. These findings are confirmed by the end of the Final Report on the Brazilian Penitentiary System prepared by Brazil's Chamber of Deputies, which states that the time served by more than 50% of the prisoners does not correspond to the sentences imposed. Op. cit. 6 page 92.

19. The UN Minimum Rules for Treatment of Inmates points out the following in this connection: "79. Special care shall be taken for maintaining and improving relationships between the inmate and his family, when such relationships are advisable for both parties."

20. The UN Minimum Rules for Treatment of Inmates points out: "65. The treatment of sentenced persons [...] should have the purpose [...] of instilling in them the will to live in accordance with law, to live off the earnings of their labor, and to develop in them the ability to do so. Such treatment is designed to promote self-respect in these persons and to develop a sense of responsibility." "77.1) Provisions shall be taken to improve the instruction of all inmates who are capable of taking advantage of it, including religious instruction in countries where this is possible, and instruction of the illiterate, and instruction of young inmates shall be obligatory, and the administration shall provide particular attention to this."

21. The UN Minimum Rules for Treatment of Inmates points out: "71.1) Penitentiary labor shall not be punitive in nature. 3) Inmates shall be given a productive job that is sufficient to occupy them during the normal duration of a workday. 4) To the extent possible, this job should contribute, by its nature, to maintaining or enhancing the ability of the inmate to earn an honest living after his release. 5) Instruction shall be given in some useful trade to those inmates who are able to take advantage of it, young persons in particular [...]."

22. The UN Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Inmates points out: A78. For the physical and mental welfare of inmates recreational and cultural activities will be organized at all sites.@

23. Article 5.6 of the American Convention states in this respect that "Punishments consisting of deprivation of liberty shall have as an essential aim the reform and social readaptation of the prisoners.@

24. According to a study, 80% of the prisoners are marijuana users. (Quote the Chamber of Deputies' report.) Op. cit. 6 pg. 28.

25. For a study conducted on the profile of prisoners, Dr. Vinicius Caldeira Brant interviewed a representative sample of Sao Paulo's prison population. He concluded that most of the inmates were employed at the time of their arrest, and only 1% of those interviewed had never had a job. Idem pg. 26.

26. The United Nations Minimum Rules for Treatment of Inmates points out: 8. Inmates that fall in different categories shall be lodged in different facilities or in separate sections within the facilities, subdivided by sex and age, background, reasons for imprisonment and the treatment that is to be given to them. In other words, a) men and women shall be confined, wherever possible, in different facilities. Any facility that takes both men and women shall have a completely separate section for women; b) persons held on preventive detention shall be kept separate from those who are serving sentences; c) persons held prisoner for debts and others sentenced to some time of imprisonment for civil reasons shall be kept separate from those imprisoned for criminal offenses; d) young inmates shall be kept separate from adults.

27. Article 5.4 of the American Convention states that "Accused persons shall, save in exceptional circumstances, be segregated from convicted persons and shall be subject to separate treatment appropriate to their status as unconvicted persons."

28. Article 2 of the Code of Conduct for Personnel Responsible for Seeing that the Law is Obeyed.

29. According to the report from the Conference of Brazilian Bishops, the prisoners are beaten, slapped, insulted, subjected to electric shocks and the "Polish corridor" treatment as a routine affair in many prisons and police headquarters. The jailers, guards, members of the police force and prison directors often commit abuses, shielded in impunity. Corruption is also present, and at times an entrance fee is collected from visiting family members by "laying hand on what the family is bringing to the prisoner." Op. cit. 9 page 21.

30. Article 5 of the American Convention says that: "1. Every person has the right to have his physical, mental and moral integrity respected." and "2. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment or treatment. All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person."

31. Op. cit. at 9 page 15.

32. Op. cit., page 8.

33. Op. cit. at 5 page 13.

34. Pastoral Carceraria of the Archdiocese of Sao Paulo, "Elements for a reflection in the search for answers to the question of rebellions and hostages 1986-1988," May 1998, page 5.

35. Since the case of the Carandiru massacre (No. 11,219) is now being processed by the Commission, any reference to it is merely descriptive and does not imply a prejudgment on the substance of the matter, which is the subject of a study currently in progress by the Commission.

For more information on this case, see AMERICAS WATCH, "Brazil: Prison Massacre in Sao Paulo," October 21, 1992; AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL, "Brazil: Death Has Arrived: Prison Massacre at Casa de Detencao, Sao Paulo," August 1993.

36. Article 3 of the Code of Conduct for Personnel Responsible for Ensuring Compliance with the Law states that: "The personnel responsible for seeing to observance of the law may use force only when it is strictly necessary and to the extent needed to perform their duties."


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