Disturbing video footage released Tuesday shows the butchered corpses of three men gruesomely beheaded and beaten inside a Brazilian prison, drawing concerns over the country’s uncontainable crime and overcrowding in prisons.
Union workers from the Pedrinhas prison in the northern Brazilian state of Maranhão sent the graphic footage, recorded Dec. 17, to Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo to highlight the facility’s awful conditions. The video shows other inmates posing with the decapitated bodies, “showing them off like trophies,” the newspaper said.
The Huffington Post has decided not to include the graphic footage.
Folha de Sao Paulo identified the three decapitated inmates as Diego Michael Mendes Coelho, 21; Manoel Laercio Santos Ribeiro, 46; and Irismar Pereira, 34. It is unknown what sparked the gruesome violence; however, the greatest known rivalry inside the complex is between inmates from the state’s capital and those from the interior of the state, the report states.
Judge Douglas Martins, who visited the facility days after the incident, demanded the Maranhão state take back control over its unruly prison population, according to CNN. The judge's report also mentioned that female visitors to the prison were forced to have sex with leaders of the complex's gangs in exchange for saving the lives of their incarcerated relatives.
"The state has proved incapable of handling with necessary rigor all the problems with abuse of authority, torture, other kinds of violence and corruption practiced by public agents," Martins, a judge on Brazil’s National Justice Council, wrote in a letter to the justice minister, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Prior to the Dec. 17 incident, Pedrinhas faced numerous prison rebellions. In 2013 alone, 62 inmates were killed inside the prison, and in 2010, a 30-hour revolt left 18 dead, the Wall Street Journal reports. Like many South American prisons, Pedrinhas faces overcrowding issues; it currently houses 2,196 inmates in the facility built for just 1,770, CNN notes.
Brazil’s federal government has coordinated with the state to transfer the most dangerous prisoners from the rival groups to federal prisons, according to UPI.