07 August, 2019
A man who tried to escape jail in Brazil by dressing as his daughter was found dead in his room Tuesday. Prison officials reported that he appeared to have taken his own life.
News of the man's attempt to escape went viral last weekend. The man had tried to walk out of the prison wearing a rubber mask to hide his identity. But he was caught before he could leave and his unusual attempt failed.
Clauvino da Silva was a drug dealer from the city of Angra dos Reis. He was stopped by prison guards at the Bangu prison complex last Saturday as he tried to go out the front door after visiting hours disguised as his daughter. Prison officials in the state of Rio de Janeiro said his plan was to leave his daughter inside the prison in his place.
When he began trying to speak like a woman, "the guard realized that it was an attempted jailbreak and identified him," Moyses Henriques said. Henriques helps lead prison operations in Rio state. "It was an inmate trying to escape as a woman."
Henriques said officials believe the disguise had been secretly brought to the prison by a pregnant woman. Such women are often used to transport things illegally to prisons because they do not face the careful searches of other visitors.
Prison officials said Silva's daughter and seven other people were arrested on suspicion of having tried to help him escape. Before his death, Silva was moved to another area of the prison, the officials added.
Henriques said Silva's jailbreak attempt was one of hopelessness. He was "facing a sentence of 73 years, and he recently got another 25 years more," said Henriques.
Brazil's prisons have become a major issue for new President Jair Bolsonaro, who has promised to fix years of growing crime and violence. Last week, at least 57 people died after a prison riot broke out in the northern state of Para.
Brazil's prison population has increased by 800 percent in 30 years to around 750,000 inmates. The nation now has the world's third-largest number after China and the United States. Prison gangs used to form to protect inmates and push for better conditions. But they now hold great power that extends beyond prison walls.
The gangs are linked to bank robberies, drug trafficking and the illegal transport of guns. Jailed gang leaders often give orders secretly through mobile phones.
I'm Alice Bryant.
Gabriel Stargardter and Sergio Queiroz reported this story for Reuters News Agency. Alice Bryant adapted it for Learning English. Mario Ritter Jr. was the editor.
Words in This Story
viral – adj. spreading very quickly to many people through the Internet
mask – n. a covering for your face or part of your face, sometimes used to disguise your face
disguise – n. clothes or other things that you wear so that people will not recognize you
inmate – n. a person who is kept in a prison: a prisoner
gang – n. a group of criminals