Lawyers Association in defense of Rural Workers in the State of Bahia – AATR

Popular legal education and the fight against mass incarceration


Objectives and target audience

  • To confront the abusive use of the provisional arrests in the context of the mass imprisonment in Bahia, through analysis, monitoring and intervention over the actions of the Public Prosecution and the Judiciary (state and federal) in the criminal field.

Main activities

Popular legal education

  • Regional training workshops held in six cities, in several regions of the state of Bahia (Salvador, Vitória da Conquista, Juazeiro, Feira de Santana, Ilhéus/Itabuna, Seabra), with the objective of contributing to the confrontation of the state’s punitive actions with members of popular communities and organizations;
  • Elaboration of educational material presenting a critical perspective on the criminal justice system to supply workshop participants with information on human rights and the actions of the bodies that compose the Criminal Justice System.

Judicial Administrative Advice

  • Monitoring of lawsuits in emblematic cases;
  • Elaboration of dossiers on emblematic cases to report the practices of the Public Prosecution Offices and of the Judiciary that contribute to the over-incarceration in the State of Bahia;
  • Participation and promotion of articulation meetings on criminalization to build a strategy for the defense of rights;
  • Proposing and monitoring reports, denunciations, representations, and actions related to criminalization and incarceration.

Articulation and strengthening of partnerships

  • Participation or promotion of meetings with partners and communities to discuss and think of ways to face the incarceration and criminalization of individuals, including those criminalized in the struggles for territorial rights and agricultural reform.

Political Incidence

  • Proposition or participation in public hearings to discuss actions taken by public authorities on the reduction of incarceration resulting from provisional arrests in Bahia;
  • Proposals for meetings with the State Committee for the Prevention and Combat of Torture in the State of Bahia.
  • Legal-political use of communication and knowledge production.
  • Charting and analysis of criminal proceedings with provisional arrests in six important cities from different regions of the State of Bahia (Salvador, Vitória da Conquista, Juazeiro, Feira de Santana, Ilhéus/Itabuna, Seabra) in the last 10 years, in order to allow for the analysis and action of the Public Prosecution and of the Judiciary;
  • Monitoring training and qualification programs for members of the Public Prosecution Offices and the Judiciary meant to analyze the content of the criminal justice discussions and understand the context around institutional and professional training on this issue;
  • Elaboration of a publication, based on systematized data, to raise awareness on this topic among various legal actors and civil society entities;
  • Organizing an event on the criminal justice system, to provide contributions to the discussions on the criminal justice system, provisional arrests, and mass incarceration.


According to the National Justice Council, in January 2017 the Brazilian prison population was comprised of 654,372 people, men, and women. Out of this total, around 221,054 people (34%) were provisionally incarcerated because of precautionary arrests (pre-trial detention and temporary detention), i.e., with no definitive sentences for which there would be no further appeals. In Bahia, there were 13,395 people incarcerated – more than half (7,975 people) were provisionally detained.The analysis of this information indicates that the social reaction promoted by the agencies of formal social control (Police, Public Prosecution, Judiciary), in the context of provisional arrests, has been concentrated in basically two sets of criminal conducts, as defined by legislation: drug trafficking and crimes against property (robbery, robbery homicides, theft, handling stolen goods, extortion). According to the CNJ, the provisional inmates criminalized by these conducts represent 69% of this prison population.With regards to the situation of women, the National Prison Information Survey produced in June 2014, showed a faster growth rate in the female population compared to the male population.In 14 years (2000-2014), the increase was of 567.4%, compared to a growth of 220.20% in the male population. In 2014, the percentage of women provisionally incarcerated in Brazil was 30%. Bahia differed from this national average because it presented a rate of 66%.The growth rate of the female inmate population is directly related to the increase in state repression on the retail trade of psychoactive substances since 68% of incarcerated women were criminalized due to this type of crime.

About the organization

The Lawyers Association in defense of Rural Workers in the State of Bahia – AATRis a non-profit civil association with a territorial base throughout the State of Bahia, whose purpose is to provide legal advice to community organizations and movements linked to the struggle of rural workers and rural population. Over the course of its three decades of existence, AATR has expanded its activities as new members have joined the institution and signed new partnershipshave been signed. AATR has about 100 associates working in various regions in Bahia and the rest of the country, mostly in the field of legal advising, university teaching, public prosecution, and judiciaries.

Funding Line

Criminal Justice (2017-2018)



Total Granted

R$ 112.840,92


20 months

Main Themes

Guaranteeing the rule of law and criminal justice

Help transform Brazil!
Colaborate with our work!



Get to know the projects we support