There would be at least 14 prisoners dead following revolts broken out yesterday in four prisons in the Brazilian State of Cearà during a prison guards’ strike. Five charred bodies were also found. The news was reported by the Secretary of justice in the small northern-western State.
Clashes were allegedly caused by the cancellation of visits to prisoners, a decision motivated by the strike staged by prison guards, who were protesting against the administration decision to pay arrears wages in instalments. This provoked made the anger of prisoners explode in at least four State jails. According to the available sources score settling among prisoners took place and huge damages were made to structures.
Police took back control over the prisons, while the fire brigade put off fires set on by prisoners and social workers went in aid of the victims’ families. In the meantime the power attorney of Cearà declared the strike of prison guards illegal and announced it would hold the State prison administration responsible for the murders, the damages and any other offence committed during the revolts.
Prisons in the state of Cearà, like the majority of those in other Brazilian states, are overcrowded and the prison guards’ union (Sindasp) has been demanding more staff for years. The Sindasp president in Cearà, Valdemiro Barbosa, denounced ‘the atmosphere of disorder and instability that reigns’ in prisons.