Sou da Paz

The map of incarceration in São Paulo

São Paulo

Objectives and target audience

Based on the presented research methodology, create a narrative that opposes the conservative discourse in favor of harsher sentences by explaining the unjust choice of investments in both the executive and legislative scopes.

Main activities

Step 1

Raise information on the residential address of the provisional prisoners in the city of São Paulo in 2015 and 2016, as well as the main characteristics of the detainees, crimes that motivated the incarceration and the places where they were arrested. This data collection will make it possible to rank the places that concentrate the largest number of pre-trial detainees’ residencies in the city. This ranking is for internal purposes and will not be disclosed in order to avoid re-stigmatization of vulnerable communities and people. Researchers will then raise the average cost of imprisonment in the capital via the Penitentiary Administration Secretariat. After establishing the monthly cost per prisoner and the list of detainees of the chosen regions, there will be a data crossing with the time spent in provisional detention of the sample to estimate how much the state spends with provisional incarceration in every micro region of the city. The time spent in provisional detention will be calculated using the figures displayed in the judicial processes informed by the Public Defender’s Office, which will allow us to carry out a data scrapping on the website of the Court of Justice of the State of São Paulo.

Step 2

The second stage aims at raising information on the investment in social policies made in each micro-region of the capital. Priority areas and public services will be defined and existing indicators at the district level will be mapped. Then, municipal and state level investments in the selected policies and equipment will be raised.

Step 3

Analyze and elaborate a report on the concentration of the imprisoned population in the city and elaborate recommendations for public administrators of municipal and state governments. This analysis will provide grounds for the Public Defenders to file lawsuits demanding the State to provide better services to the regions of the city where the greater number of detainees reside.

Step 4

The diagnosis will be the main support for an advocacy and mobilization campaign. In partnership with the organization NOSSAS (specialized in mobilization and engagement), the results of the diagnosis will be presented to stakeholders in the municipal and state governments of São Paulo, as well as to civil society in São Paulo and other states. The pre-electoral debate will be targeted seeking to oppose the agenda promoting harder and increased sentences that shows clear signs of having reached the public space. A website will be created to gather the results of the research and also to host mobilization campaigns.



The number of prisoners in Brazil increased 212% between the years 2000 and 2016, generating a deficit of 359,000 places, according to the National Survey of Penitentiary Information (INFOPEN).  Only in the state of São Paulo, where 33% of the 726,000 prisoners in the country are found, the deficit exceeds 108,000 places. The scenario is exacerbated by the abusive use of pre-trial detention which is the consequence of flagrant arrests made mostly by the Military Police. Approximately 70% of the arrests carried out in the State of São Paulo occur in flagrante, which, a priori, suggests a less qualified action held by the police when compared to the total number of warrant arrests, preceded by investigative work. Only 16 percent of the arrests in the state during the first half of 2017 were due to violent crimes. This is an outrageous situation not only because these are the most serious crimes, but also because they represent 30% of all criminal occurrences registered in the state in the same period. The ordinary use of a form of imprisonment that should be an exception is not covered by the Federal Constitution of 1988, which establishes the respect for human rights, freedom, the presumption of innocence and the right of due process of law. In the State of São Paulo provisional prisoners accounted for a third of the total in 2015.  Besides representing a significant portion of the prison population, they face degrading situations, as observed in the capital, where there are currently 116% more provisional prisoners than the capacity provided in the Provisional Detention Centers.

About the organization

Sou da Paz began as a disarmament campaign, launched in 1997 by a group of students to shed light on a theme hitherto overlooked in the public security debate.  A 1996 UN study pointed to Brazil as the country where firearms killed the most in the world. That is, a risk factor that significantly increased violent deaths in the country was a large number of weapons in circulation and a culture of appreciation of firearms.

Funding Line

Criminal Justice (2017-2018)



Total Granted

R$ 274.238,45


20 months

Main Themes

Guaranteeing the rule of law and criminal justice

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