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By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The federal Ministry of Justice and Public Security authorized yesterday (February 20th) the activation of the National Force in the states of Rio Grande do Sul, Rio Grande do Norte and Sergipe, as part of the National Public Security Plan.

Aracaju (SE), Natal (RN) and Porto Alegre (RS) receive National Forces, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Brazil News
The cities of Aracaju (SE), Natal (RN) and Porto Alegre (RS) were chosen for the beginning of the implementation of the plan, photo by Antônio Cruz/ABr.

The agents will be deployed in the states for 180 days, although this period can be extended, in actions of direct policing, judicial policing, and forensic expertise, according to the Diário Oficial da União (Official Gazette of the Union).

The government detailed that the cities of Aracaju (SE), Natal (RN) and Porto Alegre (RS) were chosen for the beginning of the implementation of the plan, through a series of integrated actions.

The reinforcement of the states is part of the Plano Nacional de Segurança Pública (National Public Security Plan), which was initiated in January, amid the crisis in the prison system in different states at the beginning of the year, which had already resulted in the deaths of more than 100 inmates.

Among the main points of the National Public Security Plan are the modernization of the penitentiary system and the collaborated fight against criminal organizations. The priority is also to reduce violence against women, the reduction of malicious killings and the integrated fight against drug and arms trafficking.

Announcing the National Security Plan, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Brazil News
Minister of Defense, Raul Jungmann, and Minister of Justice, Alexandre de Moraes, announcing the National Security Plan on January 5th, photo by Marcelo Camargo/Agência Brasil.

With the initiative, the federal government intends to reduce the annual number of intentional homicides in the country’s capitals by 7.5 percent in 2017. From 2018, the goal will be expanded to around two hundred cities around capital cities.

On January 6th, justice minister Alexandre de Moraes said, “This is the first time that a plan is built with the participation of state secretaries, public ministries, organized civil society, among others. That is why it will be more realistic and, unlike the previous ones, it is not a plan of intentions, but operational, in its three main axes: integration, cooperation and collaboration.”

On January 17th, public security secretaries from all over the country met with the federal government to determine source of funds to implement the program. At the time, in the opinion of the secretary of public security of Mato Grosso, Rogers Jarbas, the states as a whole have been in solidarity with the plan.

However Jarbas also said that the set of actions deals with the effects, and not the causes, of the crisis of the Brazilian penitentiary system and the war between factions in several prisons in the country.

“We need to change this scenario and start tackling the real causes of all that is happening: drug and arms trafficking, we have to destabilize the factions by cutting financial resources, we have to fight the arms and drug trafficking at the borders,” Jarbas explained.

After the meeting on January 17th, the Ministry Moraes announced the transfer of R$295.4 million to the states, of which R$147.6 million for the acquisition of cellular blockers, R$70.5 million for scanners and R$77.5 million for anklets.

At the time the plan was launched, it was also announced the investment of R$200 million for the construction of five new federal prisons – one in each region of the country.

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