The Catholic bishops of Brazil have documented worsening conditions and alleged torture in the country’s prisons during the pandemic. Source: CNA.
In a report,compiled by the Prison Ministry Office of the Bishops Conference of Brazil (CNBB) and released January 22, documents alleged torture of inmates including physical aggression with weapons, pepper spray, and tear gas, and various humiliating or degrading conditions such as forced stripping.
The Church in Brazil has been documenting alleged incidents of torture in the Brazilian prison system since 2014. There have been nearly 400 incidents reported since then, mostly by family members and friends of inmates.
Incidences of torture could be even higher than reported, as the suspension of family visits in most areas means that evidence of torture is less likely to be detected, the report asserted.
There are more than 800,000 inmates in Brazil's jails, the third highest prison population in the world, after the United States and China.
The CNBB received 90 complaints from prisoners of ill-treatment between March 15 and October 31, 2020. This is up from 53 reports received during the same period in 2019, and 44 in 2018, they said.
Only eight of the 90 reported torture incidents led to an investigation, the report said.
Brazilian bishops decry conditions in prisons (Vatican News)