Brazil Culture

RORAIMA PRISON RIOT SENDS INMATES HOME, CALLS NATIONAL GUARD

After 33 prisoners were massacred, the Roraima state government called in the National Guard and sent prisoners home

By
roraima prison

Roraima’s state governor Suely Campos (PP) has asked President Temer for emergency backup following last week’s prison massacre. In addition to $3.13 million, Campos requested 100 National Guard officers to reinforce security measures at the Monte Cristo Prison. On Friday, 33 prisoners died during the second mass prison riot already this year. With a capacity for 750 inmates, the Monte Cristo Prison currently holds over 1,400.

As of Sunday, authorities identified victims and returned the bodies to their families. Campos also asked the federal government for security backup last October when gang violence first broke out in Roraima’s prisons. Brazilian media reports that Roraima’s prisons are 84.2 percent above capacity. The National Justice Council also reported last September that the prison conditions in the state were “horrific”.

House arrest

The Roraima Justice also liberated 161 inmates to remain on house arrest until at least Friday night. The inmates are part of the state’s “semi-open” regime prison. Normally, the inmates spend the day working outside of the prison but return every night. However, the “semi-open” prison’s director issued a statement on the “impossibility of guaranteeing the security of prisoners or guards”. 23 inmates signed the statement, attesting to having received constant death threats. Following the order, these “semi-open” regime inmates will report back home at 8PM nightly instead of going back to prison.

According to the director’s statement, the “semi-open” prison in question only has 4 guards watching 160 inmates. Several hundred additional inmates are completing their “open” sentence at the same prison, meaning they must report regularly to the facilities. With both “semi-open” and “open” regime inmates, the prison faces upwards of 500 inmates daily.

State of insecurity

The “semi-open” regime prisoners are not the only ones in fear of escalating violence following last week’s massacre. Residents of Boa Vista, the capital of Roraima where the prisons are located, have reported stores closing early in fear of prisoners escaping to take hostages and attacking civilians. Unlike the Amazonas prison riots in which 184 prisoners fled the grounds, no prisoners have yet escaped in Roraima.