Hidden Abuses Against Detained Youths in Rio de Janeiro
When Human Rights Watch last visited Rio de Janeiro’s five juvenile detention centers, in July and August 2003, we found a system that was decaying, filthy, and dangerously overcrowded. The facilities we saw did not meet basic standards of health or hygiene. Complaints of beatings and other ill-treatment were routinely ignored by the state’s Department of Socio-Educational Action (Departamento Geral de Ações Sócio-Educativas, DEGASE), the authority responsible for the state’s juvenile detention centers. The system lacked effective oversight; in particular, administrative sanctions against guards were rare, and none of the officials we spoke with knew of any case in which a guard had received a criminal conviction for abusive conduct.