After prison riots that left more than 50 people dead in the city of Manaus (Amazon State) and 33 in the State of Roraima, the federal government released R$ 1.2 billion to modernize Brazil’s prison system. The funds should be used to build prisons and in initiatives to improve the criminal justice systems.

The release represents the largest investment in the Brazil’s prison system in history.

Of the total amount, R$ 799 million will be allocated to the construction of prisons in several states, ensuring the opening of vacancies needed to reduce overcrowding, improved infrastructure and greater rationalization and modernization of the penal system.

Another R$ 321 million will be used to promote citizenship, alternatives to incarceration, community-based control policies and improved criminal services. This also includes funds for the purchase of new equipment, such as the scanners that will replace personal body searches for people visiting prisoners.