Carandiru Penitentiary

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Carandiru Penitentiary
Casa de Detenção de São Paulo
General information
Type Prison
Town or city São Paulo
Country Brazil
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Completed 1920
Demolished 2002
Design and construction
Architect Samuel das Neves

Carandiru Penitentiary was a prison located in São Paulo, Brazil.[1] The prison was designed and built by Samuel das Neves in 1920, when it was considered a model-prison to meet the new demands of the 1890 criminal code. It was operational from 1956 to 2002 and, at its peak, was South America's largest penitentiary, housing over 8,000 inmates.[2] In 1992 it was the site of the Carandiru massacre.

Drauzio Varella, a noted Brazilian physician, volunteered as an unpaid physician in Carandiru from 1989 to 2001, in particular to address its AIDS epidemic. He wrote a book, Estação Carandiru (English: Carandiru Station), describing his own experiences there and the dreadful conditions of the inmates. The book was later made into a movie (Carandiru, directed by Hector Babenco), and both were highly regarded by critics and the public.

The prison was demolished on December 9, 2002.[3] One block was left intact to be used as a museum,[4] now open to public and accessible via Carandiru Metro Station (Estação Carandiru). Today the Parque da Juventude complex is located on the site of the former penitentiary.[5]

Cultural references

The Carandiru Penitentiary is the inspiration for the Penitenciaría Federal de Sona; the prison Michael Scofield was incarcerated in during the third season of the US television series Prison Break.[6]

Jorge Aragão refers to Carandiru in his song "O Iraque é Aqui".

Brazilian metal band Sepultura wrote the song "Manifest" about the massacre. The track is featured on their 1993 album "Chaos A.D.".


  1. Carandiru Brazilian Prison - Deadliest Jail in the world
  2. Rohter, Larry (2002-09-22). "The Fall of Brazil's Big House" (fee required). The New York Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "vc repórter: ex-agente guarda histórias e imagens do Carandiru". Terra Networks (in Portuguese). 5 July 2011. Retrieved 19 April 2013. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Trivia for Carandiru". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 17 June 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Parque da Juventude revitaliza antiga área prisional do Carandiru" (in Portuguese). Portal do Governo do Estado de São Paulo. February 9, 2010. Retrieved 18 June 2010. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. FOX Broadcasting Company: Prison Break