The report is part of the international research project “Poblaciones Carcerarias en Latinoamerica” ​(Prison Populations in Latin America) and aims to study the criminal risk factors and the institutional aspects of the prison population in the region using information from the Security and Judiciary systems.

The Center for Public Administration and Government Studies (CEAPG) and the Public Management Department (GEP) of São Paulo School of Business Administration (FGV/EAESP) and the Latin American Public Policy Center at FGV, held today the seminar "Trajetórias de Vida e Justiça Criminal na América Latina” (Life Paths and Criminal Justice in Latin America) - to launch and discuss the study “Crime, Segurança Pública e Desempenho Institucional em São Paulo” (Crime, Public Safety and Institutional Performance in São Paulo), conducted with the support of the School, Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero and the United Nations Development Program.

The report is part of the international research project “Poblaciones Carcerarias en Latinoamerica”​(Prison Populations in Latin America) and aims to study the criminal risk factors and the institutional aspects of the prison population in the region using information from the Security and Judiciary systems, and interviews with inmates.

São Paulo's phase included the participation of 751 male and female inmates from nine prisons in the countryside and the metropolitan area - many with a dysfunctional family life. "Throughout the region, especially in São Paulo, the data show that the criminal trajectories are very similar, that is, young people who grow up in environments where crime can be common," the study states.

Profile of the prison population

The research shows, for example, that about half of the prisoners already had a family member in prison during childhood; 26.8% of respondents have fled their homes before turning 15 years old (35.5% due to domestic violence) and 47.2% of parents and adults responsible for these children consumed alcohol. Brazil stands out mainly for the proportion of relatives who were in jail when the prisoners were children.

The study also includes a profile of that prison population: the majority is made up of young people between 25 and 29 years old; among the prisoners in adulthood, the average is 34 years for men and 33 for women. Approximately 30% of respondents had no occupation before being arrested, and among those who worked, the most recurrent occupation was as an employee in private companies or self-employed.  70% of those incarcerated have children and almost half are repeat offenders.

Brazil also has the lowest proportion of people belonging to the armed forces or the police among the inmates of the countries surveyed. 

The conditions of the prison system

Besides these factors, the report addresses the conditions of the prison system and the prison population. During the process, only 13.5% reported having a lot of knowledge on what happens in the hearings; the majority understood little or nothing. The majority (62.6%) thinks that it could have avoided going to prison if he/she had money or power. And nearly two of every five prisoners said they had been physically assaulted or forced to make statements or change their testimonies.

The living conditions in prisons were also investigated: most prisoners claim not to have enough water to drink, 26.8% have been stolen in the last six months, 4.7% were assaulted and 41% alleged they did not receive medical care in case of illness.

The study was conducted simultaneously in Argentina, Chile, El Salvador, Peru and Mexico.

 The report for São Paulo will be released at 3 pm at EAESP. 

FGV News migrated to FGV’s Portal, in May 2017.
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