Overview of drug laws and legislative trends in Brazil.
Brazil is debating reform of current drug legislation. Changes to the Criminal Code are being discussed in Senate and the debate includes new articles on drugs. Several legal bills to reform the existing drug law are waiting to be reviewed. The most polemic debate is about the application of forced treatment on crack users. Under the government of Dilma Rousseff, Brazil is increasingly becoming a regional reference on security issues. The country is taking on regional tasks in the monitoring and tracking of coca crops and cocaine trafficking, using high level technology and involving both police and military forces to play a predominant role.
Drug Law 11.343 has been in place in Brazil since August 23, 2006. The law introduced important changes in the country’s drug legislation as it depenalized consumption and rejected incarceration for drug users, even in cases involving repeat offenses. Article 28 of the law includes alternative measures for punishment. While the 2006 law broadened the legal difference between consumers and traffickers – with the second group facing prison time – it does not strictly define who falls into each of these categories. (See A lei na prática)
For the latest news on drug law reform in Brazil click here.Read more...
Juliana de Oliveira CarlosIDPC Briefing Paper
This briefing paper analyses the impact of drug policy on incarceration in São Paulo (Brazil), based on information collected among 1,040 people caught for having committed a drug-related offence (i.e. arrested in “flagrante delicto”) between 1st April and 30st June 2011. The objective of the research was to use empirical data on those caught in the criminal justice system for drug traffic to demonstrate the fragile distinctions between drug users and traffickers, provide information on how police officers deal with drug-related offences, and analyse how the judiciary effectively responds to these crimes (at least in the initial phases of the criminal justice process).
Download the briefing (PDF)Read more...
Vera Da Ros (REDUC - Brazil)IDPC blog
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Last September, the Brazilian Ministries of Health and Justice presented data of two key surveys – “Estimated number of crack and similar drug users in capital cities of the country" and "Profile of crack and similar drug users – Brazil". Both surveys were headed by Francisco Bastos from FIOCRUZ, a very respected and traditional Foundation in Brazil.Read more...
CBS News (US)
Thursday, March 28, 2013
The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention voiced concern about the rising number of arbitrary arrests in Brazil, which has one of the highest prison populations in the world with around 550,000 persons, 217,000 (about 40%) of whom are in pre-trial detention. They also expressed serious concerns regarding the arrests and compulsory confinement of drug addicts due to forthcoming major events such as the Soccer World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016. (See: Prison overcrowding in Brazil)
Systems Overload: Drug Laws and Prisons in Latin America
The number of people imprisoned for drug offenses in Brazil has increased over the last 20 years, but this has not affected the availability or consumption of drugs. The study also shows that those who are locked up for drug offenses are mainly small-scale dealers who represent the lowest links in drug distribution operations, and not the large-scale wholesale traffickers who dominate the country’s illicit drug trafficking trade.Read more...
Flávia ResendeComunidad segura
May 7, 2010
Brazil will soon have a special police task force targeting crack-cocaine. Meanwhile, the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais proposes its own drug fighting alternatives to address crack on the domestic front. Crack is a risk factor in urban violence, contributing to homicides and robberies in Brazilian cities. However, it is not the chemistry involved in crack, but the crack market that is increasing the crime and violence. How can rising crack use effectively be addressed, other than through mere suppression?Read more...
Marina LemleComunidad segura
August 13, 2009
The Ministry of Justice in Brazil announced the results of research that show that there are too many people behind bars in Brazil for drug trafficking. The Ministry subsequently recommended a review of drug legislation in light of the data and in support of human rights, seems to indicate that things are changing, or at least that change is in the air for drug policy in the nation. The study was a joint project of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, UFRJ, and the University of Brasília UnB, coordinated by Luciana Boiteux.Read more...
August 5, 2009
Participants of the Seminar "Drugs Policies: Progresses and Retrocessions", held in Rio de Janeiro by Viva Rio and the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, recommend drug policy based on respect for human rights, developed from a public health perspective, that favors scientific research and includes strategies to prevent drug addiction. Luciana Boiteux underlined the disparity that exists between the depenalization of drug use and the increased penalization of selling drugs that resulted from the 2006 Law on Drugs.Read more...
Um estudo jurídico-social do tipo do art. 33 da Lei de Drogas diante dos princípios constitucionais-penaisEla Volkmer de Castilho Wiecko Luciana BoiteuxRelatório Final do Projeto de Pesquisa apresentado ao Ministério da Justiça/ PNUD, no Projeto “Pensando o Direito”
Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro / Universidade de Brasília
This study commissioned by the Brazilian Ministry of Justice underlines the disparity that exists between the depenalization of drug use and the increased penalization of selling drugs that resulted from the 2006 Law on Drugs. Although the fact that the use of drugs is no longer a crime is certainly progress, it seems disproportionate to establish maximum prison sentences of 5 years for the sale of very minor quantities of drugs. The study was a joint project of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, UFRJ, and the University of Brasília UnB that ran from March 2008 and July 2009, supported by the United Nations Development Program, UNDP.
Download the document (PDF - Only available in Portuguese)Read more...