Number of inmates drops by 5 percent in Rio prisons

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Photo: Joa Souza/Shutterstock

The number of inmates in Rio de Janeiro’s prisons declined by 2,699 since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in March. As of Monday, April 6, there were 49,774 people detained in the state — a fall of 5 percent in a month. This is the result of a series of measures taken by the local justice system to avoid the spread of Covid-19 in penitentiaries.

In some Rio prisons, such as the Instituto Penal Plácido de Sá Carvalho, the number of inmates was reduced by half. The female jail Instituto Penal Santo Expedido saw a reduction of 20.7 percent in its prison population. Earlier this week, reporter Brenno Grillo showed that Covid-19 could lead to upheavals in the Brazilian prison system

The decision to shift inmates in semi-open and open prison regimes to house arrest was initially thought to last 30 days, ending next week. The state’s Penitentiary Administration Office (Seap) has urged the decision be extended.