By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Brazil’s Public Security Minister, Raul Jungmann, announced on Friday (July 20th) the creation of the National Commission on Intelligence and Operations whose main objective will be to combat organized crime that operate in the Brazilian penitentiary system.

Brazil’s Public Security Minister, Raul Jungmann, announces creation of commission to fight organized crime, photo courtesy of Agencia Brasil.

The official stated that that the control of Brazil’s prisons by large criminal groups is making the country hostage to the prison system.

“Today the Brazilian penitentiary system, which is already the third largest in the world, is under the control of factions and criminal groups,” stated Jungmann during the press conference to announce the new unit.

“I am creating the National Intelligence and Operations Commission against organized crime gathering all federal and state government agencies to fight these criminal factions, which today represent the greatest threat to the public safety,” added the minister.

Additional measures being discussed by the Justice Ministry is the end of intimate visits with inmates known to be part of a criminal faction. The federal government also stated that it will help state prisons to block cell phone signals and provide monitoring anklets to reduce the incarceration of younger people.

According to the minister, Brazil currently has approximately 70 criminal factions. Some, like Sao Paulo’s PCC, operate in five countries in South America.

Government data shows that the country has more than 700,000 prisoners, the third largest incarcerated population in the world and that the prison population grows 8.3 percent a year. At this rate, according to officials, by 2025 there will be more than 1.4 million prisoners, ‘a larger population than (large Brazilian cities) Goiânia and Belém’.

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