Association for the Promotion and Defense of Imprisoned People’s Human Dignity

Promotion of Human Rights and Access to Justice for Incarcerated Women


Objectives and target audience

Promoting access to justice and fundamental rights of women in pre-trial detention, so that they can benefit from house arrest and alternative sentences, with a view to reducing the damage caused by the prison system.

Main activities

  • Enabling access to justice.
  • Harm reduction.
  • Training on human rights.
  • Community therapy.


Today, Brazil is the country with the highest percentage of incarcerated people in the world, while the numbers in United States, China and Russia are decreasing. In this case, the selectivity and the massive character of the incarceration are evident. People who have been in the prison system almost always have the same color and come from the same social class: they are young, poor, Black and live in peripheric areas. The criminal selectivity has another serious and violent bias: the criminalization of women. In the last ten years, there has been a 260% increase in the number of incarcerated women. There are about 38,000 women in Brazilian prisons today, approximately 900 women prisoners in the state of Ceará – 720 of them are in a single prison in the metropolitan region of Fortaleza. Most incarcerated women are mothers, Black, poor, and were involved in the transportation and/or sale of drugs. The Brazilian Judiciary system holds, tries and sentence these women without taking into account possible alternative sentences, such as those provided for in the UN Rules for the Treatment of Female Prisoners, also known as the Bangkok Rules. The patriarchal character of the prison system reveals extremely cruel and symptomatic traits of machismo. Cases of violent and illegal separation of women from their children, pregnancies put at risk, and the systematic violation of the fundamental right to the presumption of innocence are not uncommon. The majority of the inmates are pre-trial detainees (560) and the State of Ceará does not have room to enforce the semi-open regime.

About the organization

The Prison Pastoral’s mission is to promote the dignity of every incarcerated person fighting the disrespect for fundamental rights and racial and social prejudices. This is done through the active participation in projects to build new public policies, aiming at awareness raising on the issues surrounding the prison population. The Association for the Promotion and Defense of Imprisoned People’s Human Dignity was founded on May 24, 2010, and is the entity that provides legal support to the Prison Pastoral.


- Pastoral of the Homeless
- Pastoral Care of the Migrants.
- Archdiocesan Caritas of Fortaleza.
- Center for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights of the Archdiocese of Fortaleza.
- Articulation of Social Pastorals.
- Um Grito pela Vida Network (A Cry for life Network).
- National Center for Human Rights and Popular Education.
- Redemption Society.

Funding Line

Annual Call for Proposals



Total Granted

R$ 40 mil


12 months

Main Themes

Guaranteeing the rule of law and criminal justice

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