Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sunday Globe Special: Brazil’s Big Debate

No disrespect intended:

"Debate over teenage crime, punishment divides Brazil; Measure pending on lowering age of responsibility" by Dom Phillips Washington Post   June 20, 2015

FORTALEZA, Brazil — Last July, Patricia fatally stabbed a female relative of her then-partner in a confrontation, provoked by what she described as continuous, poisonous innuendo. ‘‘I couldn’t stand it any more,’’ she said. ‘‘I took the life of another person.’’

She was just 17.

A heated debate over whether teenagers who commit violent crimes can be rehabilitated or should be tried as adults and incarcerated in the country’s packed and dangerous prisons has split Brazil.

High-profile violent crimes involving adolescents have inflamed the issue and polarized opinion around a controversial measure in Congress to lower the age of criminal responsibility from 18 to 16. A vote is planned this month.

Elisa Rodrigues, director of the Aldaci Barbosa Mota youth detention center in Fortaleza where Patricia — whose name has been changed for legal reasons — is jailed, said the girl understands what she has done and is suffering with the separation from her 2-year-old son.

‘‘The person she killed had a serious involvement in drugs,’’ Rodrigues said.

Then she did us all a favor and good riddance, right?

Although economic growth in Ceara, a state in Brazil’s northeast, outperforms that of the country as a whole, murder rates in Fortaleza more than doubled in the 10 years ending in 2012, reaching 76.8 per 100,000 people, according to the Violence Map produced by the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences.

Must be all the drug money.

Fortaleza was listed as the eighth most violent city in the world in 2014 in a report by Security, Justice and Peace, a Mexican nongovernmental organization.

Under current Brazilian law, teenage offenders like Patricia are detained for a maximum of three years at ‘‘educational centers’’ such as this one to be ‘‘re-socialized.’’

What has Brazil done to piss off AmeriKa? You know what kind of imagery that is meant to conjure up? Is it the BRICs thing?

‘‘No one can change what has past. But I can change my tomorrow,’’ said Patricia, now 18, who takes academic classes as well as beauty and dance classes. ‘‘I can become a better person.’’ 

Nice to see the AmeriKan media taking on the defense of a killer and showing sympathy, huh?

In an April poll by the Datafolha polling institute, 87 percent of respondents supported the proposal to reduce the age of criminal majority. Pepper spray was used on protesters demonstrating against it in Congress recently. ‘‘Our primitive leftists think that murder is the eve of redemption,’’ right-wing columnist Reinaldo Azevedo wrote in the Folha de S.Paulo newspaper.

It's all the framing buzzwords and blah-blah, and that's the first I've seen in my propaganda pre$$ regarding those protests. That and the light reference proves its not agenda-pushing controlled opposition. Those are the only protests that the propaganda pre$$ covers.

Opponents say throwing teens into Brazil’s notoriously brutal and overcrowded adult prisons, where criminal gangs rule, riots are common, and decapitations are not unheard of, is no solution — even if convicted adolescents serve time in separate prisons or units.

So Brazil has an ISIS™ presence, 'eh?

‘‘Reducing the age of penal majority will not resolve the problem of juvenile delinquency,’’ President Dilma Rousseff wrote on her Facebook page in April. Her government may support a counterproposal to increase the maximum adolescent detention to 10 years.

Black-clad police SWAT teams patrol Fortaleza streets in groups of four: three ride motorbikes, and one with an automatic rifle rides on the back of one of the bikes. On a recent afternoon they arrested two teenage boys on a motorbike who had just held up a motorcycle shop.


The battered .38-caliber revolver used in the holdup was dropped onto Officer Rachel Moreira’s desk at the city’s Child and Adolescent Police Station. ‘‘The most everyday infractions are robberies with the use of weapons,’’ she said, locking it in a filing cabinet.

She said that reducing the penal age alone would not have an impact on crime levels and that wider changes to the law are needed.

‘‘These people of 16, 17 years are aware of the crime,’’ countered her deputy, Officer Emerson de Sousa, who supports the age reduction. Soldier Xavier, one of the arresting officers, said that more education, not reduction, is what is needed.

No one is debating that; it is the kind of ejewkhazion one might get that is the problem.


I wonder if there is anything more important going on in Brazil these days before I hit the beach for the day.