Brazil: Guidelines of the National Council of Justice call for non-custodial measures to face COVID-19 pandemic

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

In an open letter to the National Council of Justice of Brazil, APT´s Secretary General, Barbara Bernath, emphasized the importance of reducing overcrowding in prisons and juvenile detention centres, and endorsed the measures proposed by the Council, such as non-custodial measures, early release and limitation of pre-trial detention, as good practices to prevent the spreading of COVID-19 infection among persons deprived of liberty and law enforcement staff, in line with international standards.

Photo by National Preventive Mechanism of Brazil (MNPCT) of its visit to pre-trial detention centre "Casa de Privação Provisória de Liberdade Professor José Jucá Neto (CPPL III)" in Ceará, April 2019.
Photo by National Preventive Mechanism of Brazil (MNPCT) of its visit to pre-trial detention centre "Casa de Privação Provisória de Liberdade Professor José Jucá Neto (CPPL III)" in Ceará, April 2019.

"The fight against this unprecedented pandemic requires equally unprecedented individual and collective measures to protect the most vulnerable but also to protect the society as a whole. Safeguarding public health and saving lives is the final objective, that cannot be balanced against any other objectives of public security or public interest", affirmed APT´s Secretary General.

In the letter, the APT draws attention to the severe overcrowding that prevails in Brazilian prisons, which makes it impossible to implement the preventive measures, recommended by world health authorities, of physical distancing, self-isolation and hygiene measures. Such extreme degrading conditions make it even more urgent for state authorities to adopt immediate and effective measures to prevent the spread of the virus and safeguard the health of people deprived of their liberty as well of those who work in prisons and juvenile centres in the country.

Read the full letter (only in Portuguese).

Read here the Recommendation N. 62 of the National Council of Justice of Brazil, available in English.