Jail bait: Two mass prison breaks in four days in Pernambuco, Brazil
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Jail bait: Two mass prison breaks in four days in Pernambuco, Brazil

The state of Pernambuco in northeast Brazil last week witnessed two prison breaks involving 93 escapees in the space of just four days.

Last Wednesday (January 20), 53 inmates broke out of a prison located on the island of Itamaracá after explosives were used to rip a hole in the wall.

An article by Globo last Saturday (January 23), states that police had only managed to capture 13 of the 53 escaped prisoners.

On the same day, a second jailbreak took place at the Frei Damião de Bozzano jail in Recife, where 40 inmates also escaped after explosives were used.

A YouTube video of CCTV footage shows the dramatic escape. Following a blast, dozens of prisoners can be seen scrambling out of a hole in the wall.

Inside job?

The Guardian has reported that the explosion is thought to have been orchestrated by an accomplice who delivered the device during visiting hours at the prison.

According to a Globo article from last Sunday (January 24), 36 of the escaped prisoners from the Frei Damião de Bozzano jail had been caught, although one fugitive remained at large.  Two escapees were killed and another was injured by police and taken to hospital.

Prison outbreaks occur regularly in the state of Pernambuco where, according to the Brazilian Ministry of the Justice, the facilities are the most overcrowded in the country. A 2015 report by Human Rights Watch, states that Pernambuco’s prisons system is holding some 32,000 detainees in facilities that should only be housing 10,500. The conditions have been described by the human rights organisation as “inhumane”.

Prison escapes occur across the country, and in some case, inmates have utilized their creativity in a bid for freedom.

Last October, 44-year-old Brazilian convicted drug trafficker Clodoaldo Antonio Felipe was serving a 36-year sentence when he attempted to escape jail by disguising himself as an old woman.

Donning a realistic-looking mask, he tried to casually walk out of the front door.

The would-be escapee, however, was unable to make it pass the guards, none of whom remembered letting a woman into the prison. When asked, Felipe was unable to provide identification, and the plan was foiled.

Gullible guards

In central Brazil last February, 28 female inmates broke out of a women’s prison after three of them apparently tried to seduce the guards. Three of the wardens were found handcuffed and naked as the women walked out of the prison doors.  All escapees, however, were captured.

According to The Telegraph, the chief warden Angelina de Andrades Ferreira said in a press statement that “from the moment they drank the whisky the agents don’t remember a thing. One was found dizzy, trying to wake up. Another slept for the whole afternoon and couldn’t even be questioned.”

Earlier this month, The Telegraph reported that a Brazilian prisoner serving time in a facility outside of São Paulo tried to break out of prison using a method reminiscent of a scene from the 1994 film  The Shawshank Redemption. In the film, the protagonist crawls through a sewer and escapes.

The man caught on camera is seen trying to squeeze through a hole filled with human waste, but, after getting stuck, he is pulled out by his ankles.

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