Organisations call on the National Justice Council to uphold the recommendation that has been protecting prisoners during the pandemic

Precautionary measures within the project help prevent figures for Covid-19 among Brazilian prisoners from being even worse

On Wednesday 10 September, over 60 organisations signed a letter addressed to the president of the National Justice Council (CNJ) requesting an extension of Recommendation 62, concerning the protection of the lives and health of people in prison during the quarantine period, due to Covid-19.

In the document the organisations signing it request that the Council maintain the existing measures set out in the norm, for a further three months.

Among the reasons underpinning the request is acknowledgement of the countrywide public calamity concerning healthcare that is making it difficult to contain the virus. 

The pandemic was declared on 11 March 2020 in Brazil and at the time of publication had killed 140,040 people.

In the penitentiary system alone, 34,961 cases have been confirmed and 192 people have died.

According to WHO (World Health Organisation) guidelines, one of the most efficient ways to contain the spread of the coronavirus is by avoiding crowds of people. 

However, Brazilian prison facilities only have group cells and according to a survey by INFOPEN, they are facing serious overcrowding with a deficit of 312,125 places. 

The Institute for the Defence of the Right to Defence (IDDD), Conectas, the Criminal Justice Network (Rede Justiça Criminal) and other organisations who signed the letter say that the only reason the figures are not worse is thanks to Recommendation 62, that contains precautionary protection measures.

For example, among the measures are the transfer of prisoners who are in risk categories to home detention and a review of provisional sentences, which represents 253,963 detainees – 33.47% of the total.


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