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News > Brazil

Brazil: Massive Prisoner Escape Increases Risk of COVID-19

  • Sumare Prison, in the Brazilian region of Campina

    Sumare Prison, in the Brazilian region of Campina | Photo: Twitter/@venusmedia

Published 17 March 2020

The exit permits restriction was a decision of penitentiary centers’ judges, to prevent massive inmates’ virus spreading.

About 1,350 inmates escaped on Monday in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo and others are still in mutiny, due to various restrictions on the system of visits and departures as a preventive measure against Covid-19. Most were under a semi-open regime.


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The massive escape occurred in three penitentiary centers after several riots and violent confrontations between the convicts and guards. According to the military police in Sao Paulo and other authorities, 400 inmates ran from prisons located in Managua, 926 in Mirandopolis and 30 in Taubate, all in different state regions. Despite the coincidence of the events, no criminal organization claimed responsibility or  recognized leaders are pointed out due the events.

A public bus service fire was reported in the state capital, alongside a stoning against a police patrol in Campinas. On its side, the Sao Paulo’s State Union of Carcelary System Officials informed 8 guards remain as hostages in Mongagua. The total captives' number is still undetermined.

The exit permits'restriction was a decisión of penitentiary centers’ judges, to prevent massive inmates’ virus spreading. The argument offered was that those who were in direct contact with their families could introduce the infection to the prisons. The guardhouse population is one of the most vulnerable facing the Covid-19 due to their crowding and life conditions.

"Both the Rapid Intervention Group (GIR) and the Militarized Police were activated and are in charge of the situation" to recapture the escaped prisoners, according to authorized sources. 

In addition to the vandalism and violence, this escape poses a greater health risk to the South American country facing the presence of the Covid-19.

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