A new prison riot has erupted in Amazonas, northern Brazil. This is the riot since January 1st, when 56 inmates died in a conflict between rival gangs. This time, four inmates were confirmed dead – but the number could go up in the next hours. The latest riot took place in Manaus Public Jail, in the city center.
The riot began around 1 am (local time). At the time, many inmates sent text messages to their family members informing about the riot. According to local authorities, the rebellion was “under control” by 6 am.
Officers of Amazonas’ Military Police are in the facility to count the inmates and remove the bodies. They have not yet been identified.
According to the prison’s Secretary of Administration, Pedro Florêncio, stated that the reason for this new riot wasn’t a conflict between gangs. He said that Manaus Public Jail houses only members of the São Paulo-based First Command of the Capital (PCC). In fact, authorities had isolated them in the facility precisely to avoid confrontations.
Brazil’s National Justice Council deactivated the facility back in October. It considered the prison a “cesspool of human rights violations.”
Three riots in a week
Today’s prison riot is the third since January 1st. The first one consisted of an attack by the local gang Família do Norte (FDN) against PCC. This conflict was especially gruesome. Perpetrators severed the heads of dozens of inmates – and filmed everything. Five days later, PCC stroke back in a Roraima prison. Similarly, 33 people died.
Both massacres were the second and third-bloodiest in Brazilian history – trailing behind only Carandiru in 1992.
A system in collapse
The first week of 2017 exposes how Brazil’s prison system in on the cusp of a total collapse. Brazil has a sufficient infrastructure to house 393,842 inmates. Instead, the Brazilian prison population is 644,575. Every year, the number of detainees in our jails increase by 7 percent. There are currently 300 prisoners per 100,000 people in Brazil, while the world average is 144.