Inegra Black Women Institute of Ceará

Black Women: Breaking the bonds of the new chains


Objectives and target audience

The project will focus on public policies, so that incarcerated black women in Ceará have fast access to justice in order to contribute to ensuring their rights and to reduce the number of pre-trial detainees.

Main activities

  • Organization of meetings with forums, networks and social movements working on human rights issues.
  • Creation of a working group to search for alternatives to the large number of female pre-trial detainees.
  • Organization of a seminar on the women’s access to justice.
  • Organization of meetings with representatives of the judiciary.
  • Promotion of public hearings on the criminal justice system and the access to justice.
  • Monitoring visits.
  • Systematic monitoring of ten women serving alternative criminal sentences.
  • Talks with women provisionally arrested in the Auri Moura Costa female prison.
  • Radio spots.
  • Electronic newsletters.


According to the National Report on Female Prison Population in Brazil, from 2000 to 2014 the number of women deprived of liberty grew 567.4%, from 5,601 to 37,380. This percentage is more than double the male prison population growth over the same period, which was 220%. What makes it even more serious is that 70% of the incarcerated women in the country in June 2014 had not been tried and convicted.

In the Auri Moura Costa female prison complex, in Ceará, this percentage is even higher, reaching 80%. Another problem is that pre-trial detainees overcrowd the unit and worsen the human rights violations of women in custody.

During monitoring visits, we have identified rights violations concerning health care, use of violence in the approaches made by GAP (Prisons Action Group), the murder of two women under state custody, lack of access to information about their processes, racism and sexism.

Data provided by the Ministry of Justice indicate that 68% of women were imprisoned for drug trafficking. Most are users, not traffic dealers, and were arrested with small amounts of drugs or dealing small amounts. Some of them are in this situation because of their relationship with their spouses/partners. According to the Penitentiary Census of Ceará (2014), 23.51% of women in relationships declared that their arrest had to do with their partners. In addition, 46.9% of incarcerated women said their partners were also in jail.

Historically, women are their families’ primary care givers, especially in what concerns children. There is still a complex and delicate situation around pregnant incarcerated women and women with small children. Nevertheless, imprisoned women receive the exact same judgment and treatment as men.

About the organization

A group of 13 black women founded Inegra in 2003 aiming at strengthening the political organization of black women in Ceará and seeking to influence the political agenda of organizations dealing with feminist, anti-racist and anti-capitalist struggles.

Funding Line

Criminal Justice / Racism / Northeast of Brazil (2016)



Total Granted

R$ 80,000


12 months

Main Themes

Guaranteeing the rule of law and criminal justice

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