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Constitutional Amendment Would Harm Children, Society

This week, the Brazilian Senate will consider a constitutional amendment that would allow prosecutors to try 16- and 17-year-olds as adults. In a country with high levels of violence such as Brazil, it’s tempting to think that harsher…
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Whenever a shocking crime is reported in the news in Brazil, social media fills with calls for laws for harsher punishment. That is especially true when the suspects are adolescents. Given Brazil´s high levels of violence, it is…
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Congress Set to Vote on Harmful Constitutional Amendment

(São Paulo) – A key committee in Brazil´s Senate should reject a proposed Constitutional amendment that would allow courts to try and punish some 16- and 17-year-olds as adults, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to the committee…
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The killing of 33 inmates in the Brazilian state of Roraima is another sign that the country's prisons are disgracefully out of control. Many of the bodies were decapitated, a practice widely used by gangs to terrorize their enemies. …
A relative of a prisoner holds a local newspaper, which shows a headline about a deadly prison riot, in front of Anisio Jobim prison in Manaus, Brazil, on January 3, 2017.
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The United States is providing early release this weekend for 6,000 inmates who have been serving federal sentences for non-violent drug crimes -- the biggest one-time release of inmates in US history. It's a sign of a tectonic shift occurring in the…
U.S. President Barack Obama and Brazil President Dilma Rousseff depart a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on June 30, 2015.
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Pernambuco’s prisons have become a haven of private enterprise. Imagine, if you can, what it is like to be imprisoned there. For 2,000 reais (USD530), you could buy a place to sleep, a narrow wooden cubicle where you can throw a mattress and prop a fan.…
Makeshift “barracos,” or cubicles, inside Pavilion 7 at Presídio Juiz Antônio Luiz L. de Barros (PJALLB), in Recife.
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Among Brazil’s Overpacked Prisons, Pernambuco Tops the List

(São Paulo) – The Brazilian state of Pernambuco has effectively turned over its vastly overcrowded prisons to hand-picked inmate “keyholders,” Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The Pernambuco prison system holds more than three times as…
Penitenciária Agro-Industrial São João
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“Custody Hearings” Improve Due Process, Reduce Prison Overcrowding

(São Paulo) – The Constitution, Justice and Citizenship Commission in Brazil’s Senate should approve a bill that would introduce basic due process procedures to prevent arbitrary detention, Human Rights Watch said today. The measure can also reduce prison…
A judge holds a custody hearing for a detainee in São Paulo on May 11, 2015, with the participation of a prosecutor and a public defender.
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In the wee hours of the morning of July 1, students gathered in the visitor gallery of Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies jumped and sang in celebration. The deputies below had narrowly rejected a constitutional amendment to try 16- and 17-year-old children as…
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Luiz is one of the adolescents who would be tried as an adult in Brazil if its Congress approves a Constitutional amendment to lower the age of criminal majority. He is 17 and was living on the streets of a city near São Paulo in January when he was…
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Constitutional Amendment Would Undermine Rights, Public Security

(Brasilia, June 9, 2015) – The Brazilian Congress should vote down a proposed Constitutional amendment that would allow 16 and 17-year-olds to be tried and punished as adults, Human Rights Watch said in a letter today to congressional leaders. The…
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Letter to Congressional Leaders

Brasília, June 9, 2015   Renan Calheiros Senator, President of the Federal Senate of Brazil   Andre Moura, Federal Deputy, President of the Chamber of Deputies Special Commission on PEC 171…
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Custody Hearings Help Curb Overcrowding

(São Paulo) – A pilot program in northeastern Brazil is reducing the number of people sent to pretrial detention, a major factor in prison overcrowding and gang recruitment, Human Rights Watch said today. The program in Maranhão state promptly brings…
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Beatings, Squalor Continue as Detention Centers Lack Effective Monitoring

Incarcerated youth in Rio de Janeiro endure beatings by guards and other concealed abuses that go unpunished because state juvenile detention centers lack independent monitoring, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The 50-page report, "…
Report
In the Dark Hidden Abuses Against Detained Youths in Rio de Janeiro I. Summary II. Recommendations III. Juvenile Detention in Rio de Janeiro IV. The Current Crisis Acute Staffing Shortages…
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Youths in a Rio de Janeiro detention center rioted yesterday after state officials failed to act promptly on warnings that critical shortages of staffing, food and clothing increased the risk of violent rebellion, Human Rights Watch said. On Sunday…
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Youths face abuse and inhumane conditions in Rio de Janeiro’s state juvenile detention centers, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. One year ago this week, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva launched a still-unfulfilled action plan to…
Report
Brazil "REAL DUNGEONS" Juvenile Detention in the State of Rio de Janeiro I. SUMMARY.. II. RECOMMENDATIONS Pretrial Detention Disciplinary Practices Complaint Mechanisms and Monitoring Prosecutorial Oversight Public Defenders Conditions of Confinement…
Report
April 2003                                                                                                                              Vol. 15, No. 1(B) CRUEL CONFINEMENT Abuses Against Detained Children in Northern Brazil I.  SUMMARY.. II. …