Note from BW of Brazil: The state of Acre is one of the smallest of Brazil’s 26 states. Located in the southwest region of the country’s north, the state is about the of Nepal and has a population of slightly more than 800 thousand inhabitants. The state has only been mentioned in news on this blog a few times, the popular posts being about former presidential candidate Marina Silva, who is from the state, the region being the entry point of thousands of Haitian immigrants into the country and the mayor of the capital city approved a bill in order for more blacks to be represented in advertising. But last November a study pointed out the fact that Acre was a state that came in first place for a very dubious reason: the incarceration of black women.
Before this statement is taken out of context, let’s clarify a few things. As Acre has such a small population (most of Brazil’s larger cities have bigger populations than the entire state), this is not to say that it incarcerates the largest number of black women of any Brazilian state. But percentage wise it comes in number one as 100% of all women locked up in the state just happen to be black. To contextualize this fact even more, we must consider 1) that, in general, black women throughout the country are the majority of imprisoned Brazilian women, 2) how the race factor can figure into justice and sentencing (as the Mirian França case showed us last year) and 3) signs that appear to show Brazil making a clear move to imprison more of its citizens as the country already imprisons the fifth largest number of people in the world.
Surely someone who simply wants to dismiss any numbers that point to racial disparities will be quick to say that, well, black women being poorer and having less education are more likely to commit crimes, but if we really want to be honest about this, we have to admit how blackness is stigmatized in Brazil. After all, how many examples do we need to see of “a white man running is an athlete while a black man running is a thief”? Add this to the fact that rates for black women being murdered in the country dramatically increased over the past decade while it fell for white women. Today’s report simply re-enforces the reality of what it means to be black and female in today’s Brazil.
Study reveals that 100% of female prisoners in the state of Acre are black women
The state, which has only one prison unit for women, registered the number in July 2014
By Ton Lindoso
In Acre, 100% of the women inmates are black, says study
Data from InfoPen Mulheres, national survey of prison information of the Ministry of Justice shows that in the state of Acre, 100% of the female inmates are black women. The release of the new study was on Thursday (November 5th), in Brasília (DF) and was based on data collected in 2014. For the first time, the study deepens the analysis with a gender perspective.
Across the country, most female prisoners in the country (68%) are black, while 31% are white and 1%, Asian. No state came close to the percentage shown in Acre in June 2014. The second state with the highest percentage is Ceará, with 94%, followed by Bahia, with 92% of black women prisoners.
In relation to the number of indigenous women, the survey states that it doesn’t come to 1% of the national imprisoned female population. At the time of the survey, there were only Indians arrested in the states of Roraima, Amapá, Mato Grosso do Sul and Tocantins.
About 30% of prisoners in Brazil still await judgement.
In relation to age groups, about 50% of incarcerated women are between 18 and 29 years of age; 18% between 30 and 34; 21% between 35 and 45; 10% are aged between 46 and 60; and 1%, is aged between 61 and 70 years. According to the survey, in June of 2013 there were no prisoners over the age of 70 years of age.
Regarding the question of education, only 11% of them have completed high school and the number of graduates of higher education was below 1%. Half of the inmates have not completed primary education, 50%, and 4% are illiterate.
In general data, the female prison population rose from 5,601 to 37,380 inmates between 2000 and 2014, an increase of 567% in 15 years. Most cases are for drug trafficking, a source of 68% of prisoners.
Compared to other countries, Brazil has the world’s fifth largest female prison population, behind the United States (205,400 prisoners), China (103,766) Russia (53,304) and Thailand (44,751).
Acre has only one prison unit
Acre also appears in the established prisons category: the state has only one unit that tends to women. The states of Alagoas, Amapá, Bahia, Ceará, Maranhão, Pará, Rio Grande do Norte, Roraima, Santa Catarina, Sergipe also join Acre in the category.
On the types of establishments, InfoPen Mulheres reveals that, of all prisons in the country (1,420), only 103 are exclusively female (7% of the total), while 1,070 are masculine and 239 are considered mixed (housing men and women).
In 8 units, there is no information on division of gender.
Source: Contilnet Notícias