Behind Bars in Brazil

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Beatings, torture and even summary executions are commonplace in the Brazilian penal system, according to this Human Rights Watch report. The 150-page report, Behind Bars in Brazil, says that severe overcrowding and institutionalized violence are chronic and widespread in Brazilian prisons and police stations. In the decade since Human Rights Watch first examined prison conditions in Brazil, the inmate population has increased at a rapid pace. Beside exacerbating prison overcrowding-a problem that Human Rights Watch originally documented during its 1988 mission to the country-the fast growth of the inmate population has coincided with years of flagrant prison abuses. Thus, our first Brazil prisons report was succeeded by a 1989 newsletter that focused on conditions in a notorious São Paulo jail, followed by a 1992 report on a massive prison massacre in São Paulo. Our annual summary of global human rights conditions, moreover, has consistently condemned Brazil for severe prison overcrowding, horrendous conditions of detention, and summary executions of inmates. Human Rights Watch's sustained attention to conditions of confinement in Brazil reflects our sense that the mistreatment of prisoners is one of the country's most serious and chronic human rights violations.

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Page 112 - The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.
Page xiv - Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment...
Page 26 - It shall not be the general rule that persons awaiting trial shall be detained in custody, but release may be subject to guarantees to appear for trial, at any other stage of the judicial proceedings, and, should occasion arise, for execution of the judgement.
Page xiii - All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person.
Page xiv - No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without possibility of release shall be imposed for...
Page 54 - Every prisoner shall be provided by the administration at the usual hours with food of nutritional value adequate for health and strength, of wholesome quality and well prepared and served.
Page xiii - The penitentiary system shall comprise treatment of prisoners the essential aim of which shall be their reformation and social rehabilitation. Juvenile offenders shall be segregated from adults and be accorded treatment appropriate to their age and legal status.
Page 112 - Special attention shall be paid to the maintenance and improvement of such relations between a prisoner and his family as are desirable in the best interests of both.
Page 120 - Compilation of General Comments and General Recommendations adopted by Human Rights Treaty Bodies, UN Doc.
Page 26 - Necessity is defined narrowly: "to prevent flight, interference with evidence or the recurrence of crime" or "where the person concerned constitutes a clear and serious threat to society which cannot be contained in any other manner."67 The weighing of the relevant criteria for a finding of necessity requires an individualized determination.

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