Reader Karolina Castro offers yet another reason to avoid the Brazilian prison system: risk of massacre. (Totally worse than being forced to join a gang.)
Karolina draws our attention to the oldie-but-goodie 1992 Carandiru massacre in which 111 inmates died in the aftermath of a prison riot. The Military Police later argued that the 102 inmates shot with government-issue bullets were killed in self-defense. Clearly, they self-defended the hell out of those prisoners, many of whom were found to have been shot dead while hiding in their cells after having stripped naked as a sign of surrender. Others had been shot in the head execution-style. Oh yeah, and the troops all survived unscathed.
Of course, Brazilian inmates have proven that they don’t need the Military Police around to pull of a rockin’ massacre. In 2002, a prison riot at Urso Branco devolved into open gang warfare, eventually resulting in the beheadings of several unfortunate inmates. Karolina tells us that surviving prisoners followed up the slaughter by playing soccer with the decapitated heads. They are also rumored to have sent one along to the prison’s director as a thank-you gift. Classy.