On March 8th, women all over the world, celebrated International Women’s Day. We should not ignore or forget that women in many countries face cruel and barbaric conditions in prison. For example,there are approximately 37,000 women incarcerated in Brazil’s prisons.
Brazilian women, in prison, do not receive the protection of Brazilian or international law. Brazilian law requires prisons only for women and only female correctional officers. In reality, many are locked up in housing units in male prisons. In Minas Gerais, in 2015, male prisoners forced their way into the women’s wing and raped them. Many of the female housing units have male correctional offers who harass verbally and physically the women inmates.
It was reported by the Brazil section of the Americas Division:
“At Bom Pastor, we found 630 women crammed into cells built for 270. Water was available only three times a day, and during rain, pipes clogged and sewage water covered the yard—leaving standing water for mosquitoes to breed. Feces floated up from drains into cells.”
At the same prison, the women inmates have not received any tampons, since 2015. For the 37,000 female inmates nationwide, there are only 37 gynecologists. One woman (Joanna) sentenced 7 years for robbery, went twice to the prison doctor at Bom Pastor, complaining of stomach pain. The physician diagnosis was hernia and she was sent back to her cell. After 5 months, a pregnancy test was performed, and the doctor concluded finally that she was pregnant. Eventually, Joana had an emergency C-section. After three days in the hospital, she was returned to prison and received no post-partum care.
Brazil has to stop the inhumane treatment of their women inmates.
“It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.”
― Nelson Mandela