|Chapter title||Radical alternatives to punitive detention|
Brazil is criticised for breaching international norms on the treatment of prisoners. Its common prison system is overcrowded and understaffed. Yet, Brazilian prisons are not so disorderly nor staff-inmate relations as conflictual as our established theories on prison order and legitimate prison governance would suggest. Staffing shortages are mitigated by recruiting prisoners. Of most relevance to the current paper, prison managers informally engage gang leaders to help maintain inmate discipline. The customary practices gang leaders oversee are likewise negotiated with prison managers. This paper examines the roles similarly played by inmates in establishing and enforcing disciplinary rules at dozens of radically different community prisons inaugurated by ex-prisoner-led NGOs in the twenty-first Century. In these prisons, everyday order does not depend on the informal authority of gang leaders. Instead, prisoners self-regulate through the medium of officially constituted peer-selected councils. Disciplinary powers are formally delegated by prison managers as part of a wider focus on human dignity and civil empowerment. Delegating disciplinary powers to inmates contravenes the international human rights consensus that prisoners might be entrusted to manage prison routines but never to exercise power over each other. This position is questionable from a Southern Criminological perspective. The paper asks, under what circumstances, by what means and to what extent is prison management appropriately delegated to community prison inmates in Brazil?
|Book title||Prisons, Inmates and Governance in Latin America|
|Published||30 Apr 2022|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI)||https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-98602-5_11|
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