At least 131 people taken hostage this weekend by Aracaju jail prisoners were released after several hours of negotiations.
Around 400 inmates were said to have started the revolt this weekend, armed with knives and stolen rifles. Their motives were said to be better living conditions, better treatment from guards, and more respect for their female visitors.
A major complaint was in the prison’s undeniable overcrowding. According to various sources, the Aracaju jail is housing nearly 4,000 inmates, despite only being suited to hold 2,000.
According to Univision, the prisoners claimed they were abused and “tortured” in prison, and specifically demanded they be allowed to smoke in their cells. During the riot, two security dogs were killed, mattresses were set on fire, and other penitentiary facilities were destroyed.
Most of the hostages taken were relatives of the inmates who happened to be visiting at the time, and the remaining three were on-duty security guards. All were said to have been released unharmed; however, it is unclear how many of the prisoners’ demands will be met.
“After 24 hours of negotiations, the rebellion reached its end,” Sergipe public safety secretary Joao Eloy said in a statement. “We did all that was possible and reasonable and will investigate their complaints.”
However, Eloy added that some of the demands, such as the removal of the prison’s governor, were unacceptable.
Five of the inmates said to be the leaders of the riot have been transferred to other penitentiaries. According to BBC News, more than 150 officers were sent to the facility to help deal with the crisis.