World Bulletin/News Desk
A prison riot in which guards and prisoners were held hostage, ended 48 hours after it begun after some of the inmates’ demands were met, local media reported Wednesday.
A number of people were injured in the riot, including at least five prisoners and three guards, reports said.
Prisoners agreed to end the riot following negotiations in which authorities promised to transfer 28 inmates to other facilities, expected to include prisons in Paraná and the neighboring state of Santa Catarina. Inmates also demanded improvements to food and living conditions in exchange for releasing the hostages.
The riot at a penitentiary center in the city of Guarapuava, in the southern state of Paraná began late Monday morning as prisoners were being transferred from a working area within the compound. The state's prison authority subsequently said “13 prison staff and numerous inmates” were taken hostage.
The penitentiary is designed to house 240 inmates and was not overcrowded, Paraná prison workers’ union, SINDARSPEN, said.
At the facility, inmates are allowed to study and work on-site, local news portal G1 reported.
Some of the hostages were hung upside-down by rioting inmates, while others were taken onto the roof where they were beaten, the Folha de S.Paulo newspaper reported.
Although a first at this location, riots and hostage-taking are common practices in Brazil’s prisons, which are notorious for violence, overcrowding and unsanitary conditions, and some are controlled by gangs.
Inmates see hostage-taking as the most effective way of demanding improved conditions, and visiting family members have sometimes voluntarily been held to highlight their jailed relatives' plight.
In late August, a riot erupted at a facility in Cascavel, in the west of Paraná state and lasted more than 45 hours. Five inmates died in the uprising in which at least two were beheaded. In a grisly turn of events, the severed heads were used to torture two guards who were also taken hostage during the incident, but later freed after negotiations.
In 2013, a riot at the notorious Pedrinhas prison in northeastern state of Maranhão left 60 prisoners dead.
Brazil's incarceration rate has soared in recent years, and more than doubled between 2001 and 2010. In 2012, there were almost 550,000 prisoners, according to the International Center for Prison Studies, giving Brazil the fourth largest prison population in the world.
Official capacity is estimated at about 300,000 and about one third of inmates in the country's penitentiary system are awaiting sentence.
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