Rio De Janeiro, Jan 15 IANS | 9 months ago

A court in Brazil's state Maranhao, where prison violence and inmate deaths have skyrocketed, ordered the state to build new prisons to alleviate overcrowding in cells in 60 days.

The court said prisons should be built away from state capital Sao Luis, and called for more prison wardens, as well as improved facilities, Xinhua reported Tuesday.

The Pedrinhas prison, plagued by riots and gang wars, is located in the state capital. Sixty inmates were murdered there last year, and another two in the first week of 2014.

National Security Force troops were stationed there to quell recent violence, but in retaliation, according to authorities, crime lords serving time at Pedrinhas ordered a violent spree in the city.

Several buses were set on fire, injuring a number of people and killing a six-year-old girl.

The escalation of violence in and out of the state's prisons has shocked Brazil, and led the nation to take a closer look at the local authorities.

If the court's ruling is not fulfilled by the deadline, the state will have to pay a daily fine of 50,000 reals ($21,276).

(Posted on 15-01-2014)

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