BRASILIA – Construction on a new maximum-security prison to host some of Brazil’s toughest convicts is nearing completion and the facility is expected to be inaugurated during the first quarter of 2018, officials said Wednesday.
The prison, located in Brasilia, will be the fifth of its kind in the country, and is to include a special unit to jail foreign fugitives awaiting possible extradition.
Brazil’s maximum-security penitentiaries, modeled on the US “supermax” prisons, are designed to prevent jailed drug kingpins and other mobsters from continuing to run their illegal operations from behind bars.
The Justice Ministry has acknowledged that crime bosses in regular prisons often bribe guards to facilitate contacts with their criminal associates outside.
The new facility in Brasilia will have a capacity for 208 inmates lodged in individual cells equipped with security cameras.
Justice Ministry sources told EFE that there has never been an escape, a riot or a killing in the four existing maximum security prisons built since 2006.
Violence is endemic in Brazil’s vastly overcrowded conventional prisons.
With 726,712 inmates, Brazil has the world’s third-largest prison population, trailing only the United States and China, and those prisoners are crammed into facilities built to house roughly half that number.
An official report obtained and published Wednesday by the Globo media conglomerate’s G1 Web site said that in the penitentiaries of Rio de Janeiro state, accusations of torture are received every 18 hours on average.