Public Security, Criminal Policy and Sentencing in Brazil during the Lula and Dilma Governments, 2003-2014: Changes and Continuities
Since mid-1980s crime rates in Brazil started to increase with the transition from military dictatorship to democracy, a period marked by the rise of poverty and hyperinflation. Given levels of police corruption and protection of criminal gangs, trust in the criminal justice system was low, leading to a heightened dependence on private security, gated communities and the politicisation of law and order politics. An impressive punitive turn began at in the 1990s. This paper analysed penal policies under successive left-wing Lula and Dilma governments from 2003 to 2014. During this period the rise of ‘postneoliberal’ and ‘postneoconservative’ politics, led by the Workers Party, developed governmental strategies and initiatives that formulated and legitimized rich and complex expressions of traditionally left-wing politics. Despite the simultaneous implementation of distributive policies, the increase of human development levels throughout the country, the reduction of social inequalities and the redirection of the official discourse of Federal Government security policies towards crime prevention, incarceration rates continued to increase. This article examines why efforts to build an effective public security policy committed to upholding civil rights and improving the control of police and police activities have failed.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms: Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Licence that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal. Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal. Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).