Prison population rates in Brazil are among the highest in the world. With more than half a million men and women behind bars, the country is fourth on the list of most incarcerated people, only behind the U.S., China and Russia. But what’s most alarming is Brazilian prison occupancy rates average 172%. That means an average prison holds almost double the number of inmates it can handle.
That level of overcrowding makes for terrible conditions with gang violence and drug trafficking a challenge to control inside. So much so that the country’s current Minister of Justice, the man at the helm of the prison system, famously stated in 2010 that “he’d rather die…than go to jail in Brazil.”
CCTV America’s Stephen Gibbs went inside the country’s most overcrowded prison, in the southern city of Porto Alegre, to see what life is like in a place that’s filled to the brim.