SAO PAULO – A riot on Monday at a detention center in Brazil’s largest city was brought under control with no reports of injuries, authorities said.
Television stations aired images of prisoners tossing mattresses, sheets and other items onto a bonfire in one of the yards of the facility, which houses defendants awaiting trial.
The Sao Paulo state prison service described Monday’s disturbance at the Pinheiros I detention center as “an act of indiscipline.”
The rioters did not take hostages “and for the moment, there are no reports about casualties,” the service said in a statement that did not offer any explanation for the cause of the uprising.
Built to hold 521 prisoners, Pinheiros I currently has 1,383 people behind bars, the state government said.
Prison service special forces entered the penitentiary “to restore order” as firefighters put out the flames, the statement said.
The 14-year-old detention center sits near the Pinheiros highway, a heavily traveled route.
In Brazil, as in other Latin American nations, the wheels of justice turn slowly and defendants often spend many months in pre-trial detention.
People awaiting their day in count account for nearly 30 percent of the total number behind bars in Brazil, which has the world’s fourth-largest prison population, behind the United States, China and Russia.
Currently housing roughly 676,000 people in all, the Brazilian penitentiary system is operating at more than 70 percent above capacity, according to figures from the National Council of Justice.
Around 150 inmates have died in prison riots and uprisings so far this year.