Brazil’s Justice System Success: More Criminals Behind Bars

“In 2019, more criminals went to prison than were released. In 2018, it was the opposite,” says the minister of justice and public security

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Bolsonaro’s justice minister appointment is the judge who dismantled the largest network of state corruption, and he is already reaping the rewards. (EFE)

Spanish – Fighting crime was the promise that led Jair Bolsonaro to the presidency of Brazil. To achieve this, he chose as his minister of justice and public security the judge who dismantled the largest network of state corruption, which ended with the resignation of Dilma Roussef and the imprisonment of Lula da Silva. Now Sergio Moro is celebrating that in the first year of the administration, there were more criminals in prison than released, thanks to the Anti-Crime Law.

“Following the guidance of President Jair Bolsonaro, we are being firm in dealing with organized crime, isolating leaders in federal prisons. In 2019, more criminals were put in jail than were released. In 2018, it had been the opposite,” the minister of justice and public security said, explaining the steep fall in crime in Brazil last year.

“342 dangerous criminals were transferred to federal prisons in 2019. By the end of the year, there were 624, an all-time record. According to the anti-crime law, all conversations with visitors are recorded, which reduces the possibility of sending orders to commit crimes abroad,” he added.

The effectiveness of the police increased their popularity

The minister also shared on social media some recent statistics showing how support for the federal police has increased.

The only statistic of violent deaths that increased in 2019 was that of criminals during armed confrontations with the police. In the case of Rio de Janeiro, it increased by 16.2%.

Although the political left disapproves of armed confrontation against criminals, the civilian population has expressed approval.

In total, there were 7,000 fewer homicides in 2019 than in 2018. The death of innocent people decreased while the death of criminals increased.

At the national level, crime was reduced in all areas. Homicide was down 22.6%. By August 2019, robberies that resulted in deaths decreased by 27.3%, fatal assaults by 5.8%, and rapes by more than 13%.

There was also a significant decrease in theft, with cargo theft falling by 27.3% (from 7,930 to 5,763 stolen cargoes) and vehicle theft falling by 27.5% (from 88,104 to 63,852 stolen vehicles).

In Rio de Janeiro, street robbery decreased by 3.6%, which includes pedestrian theft, common theft, and cell phone theft. There was a total of 88,596 cases reported from January to August 2018, compared to 85,513 in the same period in 2019.

As crime in Brazil falls, support for Bolsonaro surges

As Bolsonaro is fulfilling his election promise, his popularity has risen to 34.5%, up from 29.4% in August 2019, according to a CNT/MDA poll published on Wednesday, January 22, 2020. Bolsonaro’s approval rating rose to 47.8%, up from 41% in August, while disapproval fell from 53.7% in the same month to 47% today.

Furthermore, the fight against crime leads to the fight against corruption. The Bolsonaro administration reduced corruption by taking away privileges from the political class.

He successfully reduced the expenditure that took up 53% of the state budget: the pensions of the political class. Through pension reform, he was able to reduce the inequality that made a public-sector pensioner earn up to 20 times more than one in the private sector.

1.1 million jobs were created in 2019

“Less state, less in the hands of politicians, more efficiency, and spending public money in truly essential areas,” Bolsonaro wrote on Twitter, sharing a TV Brazil report on the subject. “We will go further,” Bolsonaro said, commenting on the success of the privatization and concessions program in 2019.

The president took away the state’s monopoly on services and thereby reduced public spending. Thus, the state, which is financed by citizens’ taxes, was able to save money. He also encouraged job growth in the private sector that sustains the nation.

That, along with the removal of visa requirements for restricted nations during previous governments, has promoted tourism and thus created more jobs.

When Brazil lifted the visa requirement for citizens from Australia, Canada, the United States, and Japan, its economy gained 598 million USD.

The sum of these factors resulted in the creation of more than 1.1 million jobs by 2019, which means fewer people unemployed and less likely to commit illegal acts.

Nevertheless, the most significant disincentive to crime has been the strengthening of the justice system —with Sergio Moro at its head— so much so that there has been an increase in the number of criminals entering prison and a decrease in those leaving.

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