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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Priest: Brazil’s prison system ‘factory of torture that creates monsters’

The national coordinator of the Brazilian bishops’ prison ministry has described the country’s prisons as “places of death and torture”.

His comments come as over 100 inmates have died in Brazilian prisons since the beginning of the year.

“It is a factory of torture that creates monsters,” Fr Valdir Joao Silveira told Catholic News Service before leaving a trip to the Amazon region to meet with family members of inmates at prisons in the state of Amazonas.

Fr Silveira said if the prisons had animals instead of inmates, there would be international animal protection agencies campaigning against the cruelty and pressuring local, state and federal governments in Brazil for change.

“What we need is international attention to this question, to force authorities to take action,” he said.

Fixty-six inmates died in a 17-hour riot at Compaj prison in Manaus from 1st to 2nd January; many were decapitated and butchered. Authorities say the riot grew out of a dispute between rival gangs vying for control of drug routes and prisons.

Picture: Relatives of prisoners wait to know the names of prisoners who died, outside Anisio Jobim Penitentiary Complex in Manaus, Brazil, on Tuesday 3rd January 2017. (Michael Dantas/PA).