A new massacre left at least 52 prisoners dead, 16 of whom were decapitated, at the Regional Recovery Centre of Altamira (Centro de Recuperação Regional de Altamira), in the south-west of the state of Pará. According to information from Susipe (Superintendency of the Penitentiary System of the state of Pará), the rebellion started in the morning, on Monday 29, as a result of conflict between rival factions.
This prison had been the stage of a rebellion in September last year, that left seven dead. In its report, the CNJ (National Board of Justice) considered the general conditions in the prison to be appalling. The prison houses 343 people, although it has space for 163 and does not separate convicts from prisoners being held provisionally. According to 2016 Infopen data, 45% of prisoners in this unit are provisional.
“Today’s tragedy is another display of the absolute failure of security policies founded on mass incarceration.” Said Henrique Apolinario, Consultant on the Conectas programme, Combatting Institutional Violence. “Although the official report had already shown the precarious conditions in the prison unit, public authorities failed to take measures to avoid another episode of brutal violence and to ensure the safety of people in its custody.”
Apolinario is a member of the CNPCT (National Committee for the Prevention and Combat of Torture) and was nominated by Conectas. He points to the weakening of the Mechanism for the Prevention and Combat of Torture by the Federal Government, as an aggravating factor of a public security policy that does not respect an international commitment to human rights. At the beginning of June, President Jair Bolsonaro, passed a decree to exonerate the eleven independent experts of the Mechanism. They had been responsible for inspecting prison conditions throughout the whole country and for putting forward recommendations to the public authorities.
“The Brazilian prison system is a time bomb as it is and the current government is weakening any attempt to monitor and denounce violations that reveal the truth.” He concluded.