Carandiru massacre: event that had 111 victims discussed 30 years on
On October 2, 1992, a fight between prisoners in Block 9 at Carandiru Prison in Sao Paulo led to one of the biggest massacres by police officers in all of history. At least 111 prisoners were killed and hundreds more suffered severe injuries from beatings with iron bars, clubbing and dog bites. The statute of limitations now applies to all the cases of bodily harm. This event, known as the Carandiru massacre, had enormous repercussions in Brazil and elsewhere. A complex investigation was launched to determine the criminal responsibility of the police officers who participated in the operation and to compensate the victims, which to date has not been completed.
Since 2011, the Nucleus for Crime and Punishment Studies (NECP) at the Fundação Getulio Vargas Sao Paulo Law School has been collecting data and analyzing the political and legal investigation proceedings related to the massacre in a research project called Carandiru Is Not a Thing of the Past. So far, the project has produced more than 50,000 pages of documentation. Various specialists have compiled procedures, procedural documents, reports, international statements, victim testimony and other documents, which have been systematized and posted on the project’s website.
Thirty years after the massacre happened, NECP and other institutions organized several events to reflect on the role of law and the legal system in light of the multiple forms of state violence and continuing massacres inside and outside prisons. The nucleus recently published a report presenting the results of compensation proceedings instigated by 154 relatives of 75 of the Carandiru massacre’s 111 victims. Thirty-six of the 111 potential processes were not found. Out of the 75 processes that were located, just 25 families have received compensation. According to the report, the average time taken to obtain a judgment was 22 years, six months.
In this context, on September 26 and 27, NECP held a meeting called 30 Years on from the Carandiru Massacre: Researching Law in Light of State Violence. The event, which took place at the FGV Sao Paulo Law School, discussed forms of punishment by the state and also the subject of preserving people’s memories and spaces. You can watch the meeting on YouTube, here and here.