Number of women jailed climbs rapidly in Brazil

World Today

Number of women jailed climbs rapidly in Brazil

The number of women in Brazilian prisons has soared over the past twenty years.

The data also put Brazil behind only the United States and Thailand in its arrest rate of women.

CGTN’s Paulo Cabral reports.

Government data show the number of incarcerated women in Brazil rose more than six-fold between 2000 and 2016, from about 5,600 detainees to more than 42,000.

The majority, more than 60%, are in for drug dealing. There are many differences between prisons for men and for women.

For example, there is far less violence in women’s prisons. However, there are some very specific issues that have to be dealt with in a women’s prison.

One good example: pregnancy.

Many penitentiaries have special wings where breastfeeding mothers can stay with their infants for up to six months.

But childbirth education classes, given by the NGO Ponto de Luz, prison are rare.

It’s not clear to experts exactly what’s behind the soaring numbers of incarcerated women whether more are turning to crime, or police are simply making more arrests.

But what is clear are the new challenges they’ve brought for Brazil’s penal system.