SAO PAULO — A fight between rival groups in a jail in northeastern Brazil left 10 detainees dead on Monday, officials said.
The fight broke out during the morning in the Public Jail of Itapaje in Ceara state. Police and guards responded to the unrest and brought the situation under control, according to a statement from the Justice Department of Ceara. The department did not immediately respond to requests for more details.
Brazil saw a wave of prison riots and fights between rival gangs last year that left dozens of prisoners dead. Brazil’s prisons are often overcrowded, understaffed and virtually controlled by gangs.
Ceara was also the scene of a grisly massacre on Saturday, when gunmen barged into a party and killed 14 people. One person has been arrested on suspicion of participating in the killings, military police said Monday.
The president of Brazilian bar association linked the two events, saying in a statement that both stem from a failure of public security officials and a rise in organized crime that is being incubated in the prison system.
“Leaders and public authorities can no longer close their eyes to the fact that organized crime is taking the place of the state in many places,” Claudio Lamachia, president of the association, said in a statement. “Fighting crime effectively will mean ending, urgently, the criminal training grounds that prisons have become.”
Lamachia specifically called for an end to the housing of suspects awaiting trial with prisoners who are serving long sentences — a practice that many experts say can turn first-time offenders into hardened gang members who will re-offend.