The “Invisible Bars” Booklet exposes state violence against family members and visitors of incarcerated individuals
The publication by Conectas and Amparar unveils the anxieties and challenges faced by family members of incarcerated individuals during prison visits and reveals violations of fundamental rights and constitutional principles
Um ponto crucial ressaltado na cartilha é a inconstitucionalidade da revista vexatória. Foto: Edwirges Nogueira/Agência Brasil
The result of an initiative by Conectas Human Rights and Amparar (Association of Family Members and Friends of Inmates and Detainees at Fundação Casa), the booklet “Invisible Bars” sheds light on a little-discussed yet profoundly impactful reality: state violence against family members and visitors of incarcerated individuals in Brazil. With an accessible and informative approach, the publication highlights five common situations faced by these individuals during visits to their loved ones in prison.
>>>Access the full publication here.
The experiences lived by these family members and friends include fears, humiliations, prejudices, stereotypes, and deprivations of rights that often lead to them being subjected to degrading treatment and the violation of their dignity. What is even more alarming is that these penalties occur despite these individuals having no connection to the so-called “social debt” of those deprived of their freedom.
A crucial point emphasised in the booklet is the unconstitutionality of these practices. The Brazilian Federal Constitution is clear in establishing that “no penalty will extend beyond the convicted person,” implying that any form of punishment or violation of the rights of family members and visitors is against the law.
Furthermore, the publication underscores the need to recognise that dignity and fundamental rights also apply to incarcerated individuals. To achieve truly humanitarian justice, it is essential that the security measures adopted in the prison system respect both the integrity of those deprived of their freedom and the dignity of their family members.
The booklet goes beyond exposing these situations of violence and also provides a detailed analysis. Using clear language and real testimonies from family members, the publication outlines which rights are violated in each of these common situations in prison units, in accordance with Brazilian legislation and international treaties.
For example, intimate and invasive searches, although not prohibited by federal law in Brazil, are identified as practices that violate fundamental rights protected by the Brazilian Constitution and international law. The right to privacy and dignity of all individuals is guaranteed by the Brazilian Constitution. Intimate and invasive searches, by exposing the privacy of the individuals being searched without proper justification, cause embarrassment and affect their dignity, constituting a clear violation of these principles.
Furthermore, the publication emphasizes the prohibition of torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment in both Brazilian legislation and international law. Intimate searches fall under this category, infringing upon this fundamental principle of respecting human dignity.
The booklet “Invisible Bars” is a valuable resource for providing information and raising awareness. Its aim is to clarify the rights of family members and visitors and to raise awareness in society and among authorities about the urgency of changes in the approach and practices of the Brazilian prison system, in pursuit of truly humanitarian justice.