Prisons in Brazil have a large population, they are overcrowded and in terrible conditions.
By Giovani Coppini and Thomas Bazzo
Brazil has the fourth biggest total prison population, with 514.000 prisoners, according to International Centre for Prison Studies (ICPS), a non-governmental organization. In the first positions are the United States of America (2 millions), China (1,6 million) and Russian Federation (740.000).

The Ministry of Justice Eduardo Cardozo said he would prefer to die to be in jail for a long time, because he thinks that the Brazilian prison system is “medieval” at the moment. Prisons face overcapacity and receive low resources to make things better. Electrical problems, poor-quality food, bad plumbing, broken toilets, terrible hygiene, these are some of the main problems that prisons have, not to mention that they suffer from overcrowding.

The tense environment makes the prisoners feel really terrible. In 1992, the carnage of 111 prisoners in São Paulo's House of Detention, known as Carandiru, was decisive for the foundation of a criminal group that acts in the prison system and is called PCC (Primeiro Comando da Capital, literally, First Capital Command). This group was created to face the problems in the prison system and to avoid another massacre like the one in 1992. The creation of this group showed results: in 2006 the deaths in prisons reduced. In 1992 the deaths reach 522 prisoners a year but in 2006 this number reduced to 377. This can be a good thing but we have to remember that it is a criminal group which has been causing trouble since its creation until now.   

A possible solution for all these problems could be a program that inserts prisoners in the society. This program already exists. It was created in 2009 and has employed 2000 ex-prisoners. But it is difficult for the ex-prisoners to be employed because most of them don't have a good qualification and haven’t completed the basic education. A lot of these people get a job in civil constructions like the ones for the world cup in 2014. The government must invest more in this program to create a better society where people have a second chance in their lives.

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