Black Women of Brazil

The site dedicated to Brazilian women of African descent

Number of women prisoners in Brazil grows 700% in 16 years; main reason for incarceration is drug trafficking


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Note from BW of Brazil: Well this is actually not surprising. A shame, but not surprising. As the “powers that shouldn’t be” continue to construct this prison planet, it should be obvious that the numbers of incarcerated women would also begin to rise dramatically. The reality is that we’ve known for some time that Brazil has the fourth largest population of prisoners in the world so one would expect that to correspond to the numbers of both male and female prisoners. The article below doesn’t discuss the racial aspect of the exploding rate of women being sent to prison, but past articles have hinted on what the majority of the women look like. The other issue here is the question of pregnant women or those with young children at home, especially since the case of the former governor of Rio de Janeiro’s wife was released to pay her time for her crimes at home because she had children and because her husband was also serving time. 

The article below doesn’t discuss the racial aspect of the exploding rate of women being sent to prison, but past articles have hinted on what the majority of women look like. The other issue here is the question of pregnant women or those with young children at home, especially since the case of the former governor of Rio de Janeiro’s wife was released to pay her time for her crimes at home because she had children and because her husband was also serving time. Really difficult period to be living in Brazil at this moment…One has to wonder where all of this is leading. 

ALAGOINHAS - Uma quadrilha de traficantes, formada apenas por mulheres e que atuava nas imediações da Central de Abastecimento de Alagoinhas

Number of women prisoners in Brazil grows 700% in 16 years

Amount puts the country in the fifth position in the world ranking of women prisoners. 60% are behind bars for drug trafficking

Courtesy of Gazeta do Povo

If in 2000 there were 5,600 women imprisoned in Brazil, in 2014 the number jumped to 37.4 thousand and in 2016, 44.7 thousand. There was, therefore, an increase of 698% in 16 years. The data corresponds to the last month of December and were sent by the Departamento Penitenciário Nacional (Depen or National Penitentiary Department), an organ of the Ministry of Justice, to the Federal Supreme Court (STF). Information on the female prison population was requested by Minister Ricardo Lewandowski in analyzing Habeas Corpus (HC) 143.641, which asks for the granting of house arrest to all pregnant women or mothers of children under 12 years of age who find themselves preemptively imprisoned.

Oito mulheres, namoradas de traficantes presos, comandavam o tráfico de drogas em Canoas

Eight women, all girlfriends of drug dealers, imprisoned

The number puts the country in fifth place in the world ranking of female prisoners, behind only the United States (205,400), China (103,800), Russia (53,300) and Thailand (44,700). Still, according to Depen, 43% of prisoners serving their sentence in Brazil did not have their cases definitively judged.

The main reason for incarceration (60%) is drug trafficking. The organ, however, points out that most of these women “are not linked to large networks of criminal organizations, nor do they occupy positions of management or high level and usually occupy supporting positions in these types of crime.” It is important to point out that the Lei de Drogas (Drug Law) is from 2006.

Número de mulheres presas no Brasil cresce 700% em 16 anos (3)

80% of prisoners are mothers and primarily, when not solely, responsible for their children. Lewandowski also requested that the number of pregnant detainees or mothers of children be specifically identified in prison. Only 10 states sent this data, totaling 113 pregnant women or children with them behind bars. The Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), however, released a study in June in which at least 241 women were interviewed in this situation.

Habeas Corpus 143.641

Imprisoned in May 2017 by members of the Human Rights Lawyers’ Association (CADHu), based in São Paulo, HC 143.641 requests STF to grant house arrest to all pregnant women or mothers of children under 12 years of age of age, who are preemptively imprisoned.

Número de mulheres presas no Brasil cresce 700% em 16 anos (2)

Without a pre-defined term, pre-trial detention can be ordered at any stage of the police investigation or criminal action, provided there is evidence of the existence of the crime and indications that link the suspect to the crime. In addition, it is necessary for the defendant to present at least one of the requirements: hinder the conduct of investigations, have the possibility of escaping or represent risks to the maintenance of public order. As of 2016, the Código de Processo Penal (CPP or Code of Criminal Procedure) provides, in article 318, that preventive custody may be replaced by house arrest if the accused is pregnant or the mother of a child of up to 12 years of age.

In the suit, lawyers argue that the treatment received by these women in prisons is inhuman, cruel and degrading since Brazilian prison facilities aren’t adapted for women’s needs. The members of CADHu also claim that the criminal policy responsible for expressive female imprisonment would be discriminatory and selective, disproportionately impacting poor women and their families.

Número de mulheres presas no Brasil cresce 700% em 16 anos (4)

The Attorney General’s Office (PGR) opined for not knowing habeas corpus. The entity alleges that the collective habeas corpus, generic, is unacceptable because its beneficiaries should be individualized. The PGR also understands that it is not for the STF to judge the action, since the co-actors – who practice or order the violence – were not indicated in the HC.

Minister Lewandowski stated that it is not possible to exclude the existence of collective habeas corpus in the Brazilian legal system. The subject will be discussed in more depth in the judgment of Recurso Extraordinário 855.810 (Extraordinary Appeal 855.810), which has Dias Toffoli as rapporteur. Anyway, Lewandowski ordered Depen to identify all the women who are in the situation narrated by the authors of habeas corpus. For the jurist, the information is essential to deciding whether or not the action falls within the competence of the Court.

PRESAS DUAS MULHERES SUSPEITAS DE TRAFICO DE DROGAS NA FEIRA LIVRE

Brazil is a signatory to the Bangkok Rules, which provide for measures for the treatment of female prisoners, including the possibility of an alternative to imprisonment for those who have children. That is why CPP was changed last year.

Speaking on the matter to the courts on the previous occasion, the president of the Human Rights Commission of the Brazilian Bar Association in Paraná (OAB-PR), Alexandre Salomão, said that the problem, in his opinion, was the reading that was done of the law. As the law says “may” many judges choose not to grant this possibility. In his opinion, the substitution of preventive custody for house arrest for mothers of children should be the rule. He also reminded that for pretrial detention, it is necessary that the suspect, in fact, represents a risk.

Salomão said it was increasingly common for mothers being pre-emptively arrested with their young children. “People handle this tremendously naturally because of a discourse of public safety,” the lawyer noted. He cited dramatic cases such as the presence of a 15-day-old child during the latest rebellion at the Piraquara Penitentiary. “Children end up serving time together,” said the chairman of the Human Rights Commission.

Source: Gazeta do Povo

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This entry was posted on September 2, 2017 by in prison, prison industrial complex, Uncategorized and tagged , .
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