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News > Latin America

Brazil Prison Riot: 9 Killed, Over 70 On the Run

  • Brazilian jails are known for insecurity, overcrowding and poor living conditions.

    Brazilian jails are known for insecurity, overcrowding and poor living conditions. | Photo: EFE

Published 2 January 2018

The incident in the metropolitan region of Goias reveals the wider crisis affecting Brazil's prison system. 

A riot in the Brazilian prison complex Aparecida de Goiania on Monday resulted in nine dead and fourteen wounded.

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Local media outlets reported that prison officials regained control with the help of Brazil's military police, but 106 inmates had escaped after breaching one of the prison's walls. Twenty-nine escapees have been recaptured while 77 remain at large. Another 127 inmates fled, but turned themselves in shortly after, according to local reports.

The riot was the result of clashes between rival gangs, according to the Executive Superintendence of Penitentiary Administration. On New Year's Day, a group of armed inmates entered three cell blocks where rival gang members were kept.

Attackers reportedly set mattresses on fire, burned the bodies of those murdered and beheaded one person.

The Goias Court of Justice had previously warned through a report published in 2016 that the conditions of the prison were conducive to a riot. 

The prison has a capacity of 122 prisoners. However, the facility had more than 423 inmates at the time of the riot.

Brazilian prisons are known for overcrowding and for being largely controlled by criminal groups that have access to drugs and weapons, making violent episodes a common occurrence. In January 2017, a similar episode took place in a Manaos prison, where 56 people were killed.

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