By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Brazil’s Ministry of Justice extended for another 90 days the maintenance of the country’s National Force in Amazonas state to help maintain control of the state prison system. In the beginning of the year, the state registered some of the bloodiest prison uprisings the country has ever seen.
“The decision meets the request of the government of Amazonas and provides for the continuation of actions of ostensive police, in the modality of patrolling, in the external perimeters of units of the state penitentiary system,” read the statement issued by Brazil’s Ministry of Justice on Monday, December 12th.
The federal troops, who were scheduled to leave the state on December 31st, will now remain until March 31st, 2018.
Earlier this year, the state’s prison system reported a series of uprising in different units. The largest occurred in the Anísio Jobim Penitentiary Complex (Compaj), on January 1st, when inmates took over the prison for more than seventeen hours. During the siege, which broke out due to a fight between rival criminal groups, six inmates were decapitated, another sixty were killed and more the 200 escaped.
At the time, the federal government not only offered to send national security troops but also equipment such as cell phone blockers, scanners and X-ray machines to conduct inspections, some of which were used in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Last week the Ministry of Justice released a study which showed that Brazil’s inmate population has doubled in the last eleven years, and today is the country with the third largest prison population in the world.