Humiliation in prisons II
São Paulo inspects the genitals of 3.5 million prison visitors
The government of the state of São Paulo, throughout 2012, required 3.5 million people to remove their clothes and open their genital orifices with their hands for a cavity inspection. The procedure – for which the government of Argentina was recently condemned by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the OAS (Organization of American States) – is performed by prison guards in various Brazilian states when people visit their imprisoned relatives, under the allegation of barring the entry of weapons, drugs and mobile phones into prisons.
Data compiled by the Public Defender’s Office, however, reveal that prohibited items were found on visitors in just 0.02% of cases. According to Conectas, “it is clear that this abusive practice is used as another form of punishment against the prisoners, extending the sentence to people who have never been convicted of any crime. This is not conducive to the reintegration of prisoners into society. In contrast, it fuels a sense of indignation, animosity and hatred”.
The so-called “oppressive search” was denounced by Conectas to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva last week and is the topic of the latest newsletter of the Criminal Justice Network. The publication carries five new articles and two exclusive interviews with experts on the subject.
The newsletter is published by Conectas, ARP (Association for Prison Reform), IDDD (Defense of the Rights to a Defense Institute), DDH (Defenders of Human Rights Institute), ITTC (Land, Employment and Citizenship Institute), Sou da Paz Institute, Justiça Global and Pastoral Carcerária.