Brazil senator advocates privatising Brazil's prisons

Senator Aécio Neves, the president of Brazil's PSDB party, instanced a

Published in 12/01/2017 - 10:03 By Paulo Victor Chagas reports from Agência Brasil - Brasília

Brazil's Senator Aécio Neves has suggested that President Michel Temer adopt public-private partnerships (PPP) to run its prisons as part of the solution to Brazil's prison crisis. The senator instanced the country's first private prison, unveiled in 2013: a penitentiary complex in Ribeirão das Neves, metropolitan area of Belo Horizonte in Minas Gerais state.

Brasília - Entrevista coletiva do senador Aécio Neves, após encontro com o presidente Michel Temer (Valter Campanato/Agência Brasil)

Brazil's Senator Aécio NevesValter Campanato/Agência Brasil

Neves said PPP arrangements differ from outsourcing management to third-parties—as is the case with Anísio Jobim prison complex (COMPAJ) in Manaus, where 56 inmates were murdered in January 1-2—in that PPP's are based on the premise that a private party makes the investment and is paid in accordance with the conditions agreed under a contract, whose terms could cover a number of conditions from the percentage of inmates in the unit who are allowed to study and work to provisions against escapes or riots. “Breach of any of the conditions leads to loss of the [contractor's] right to the agreed payment terms,” he said.

According to the senator, who presides Brazil's PSDB party, privatising prisons could help expand the number of prison beds the country. He estimates the government could be able to expand the current capacity by 30,000 new beds throughout the country, no matter how much effort the government puts into it. “With private sector investment, we could be talking twice as much, whereas the state would retain its police role—which means oversight of security both within and outside the walls would be the State's responsibility—but these contractors would take care of management with humane conditions—classrooms, dental care,” he argued.

Ribeirão das Neves

Unveiled in 2013 under the administration of the PSDB's Antonio Anastasia as Minas Gerais state governor, the Ribeirão das Neves penitentiary complex was the first prison built and run by a consortium of private businesses in Brazil, who won the contract tender. On that occasion, the state government reported the private sector had invested $87 million in the prison.

Translated by Mayra Borges

Fonte: Brazil senator advocates privatising Brazil's prisons

Edition: Luana Lourenço / Olga Bardawil

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