Go to jail and do not pass Go

“These massacres occur almost daily in Brazil…Our prisons were built to annihilate, torture and kill.”

So said Father Valdir Silveira, director of Pastoral Carceraria, a Catholic entity which monitors prison conditions in Brazil, after at least 56 people died in a prison riot – supposedly a battle between rival drugs gangs – in Anisio Jobim prison, in Manaus, on 31 December 2016.

Some of the dead were decapitated. Bodies were thrown over the prison’s walls.

The Anisio Jobim prison complex houses 2,230 inmates, although its nominal capacity is 590.

For decades, the Brazilian authorities have locked people away without giving too much though about the conditions in which they are held. In 1992, a prisoners’ rebellion at the Carandiru prison in São Paulo state saw 111 inmates killed, nearly all of them by police retaking the jail.

Picture source: Alexandre Carvalho via Wikimedia