AMERICA/BRAZIL - Mgr. Vieira: "It is urgent to address the problems of our prison system"

Monday, 16 January 2017 prisoners   bishops   violence  

Natal (Agenzia Fides) - The Archbishop of Natal (Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil), His Exc. Mgr. Jaime Vieira Rocha, released a statement on the massacre that took place on Saturday night, January 14, in which at least 26 prisoners were killed during a fight among gangs in the Penitentiary of Alcaçuz State, in Nísia Floresta, metropolitan region of Natal.
"No doubt, we need an urgent reflection on the conditions of our prisons. We beseech the good Lord to calm these brothers and to renounce violence, and call on society and the State to seek dialogue and find ways to address the problems that plague our prison system", the statement said.
According to data collected by Fides, twenty-six inmates were killed, most of them beheaded, in the revolt which broke out in the Penitentiary Alcaçuz, which has become the most violent in the history of Rio Grande do Norte. The incidents began in the afternoon and ended only in the morning of the following day. This is the third case with dozens of deaths in the country's prisons in 2017, in early January similar massacres in Manaus and Boa Vista took place (see Fides 09/01/2017). The biggest problem for the coexistence within prisons is the lack of space for prisoners, both as individuals and as groups or gangs. According to data of the Secretariat for Justice and Citizenship (SEJUC), the body responsible for the prison system in Rio Grande, the prison of Nísia Floresta is the largest prison in the state, it has a capacity of 620 prisoners, but is home to about 1,150. In this State there are 33 prisons with 3,500 places, but the prison population exceeds 8,000 inmates. (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 16/01/2017)