In an alarming surge, Ceará has reported the highest number of prison escapes since 2019, with 51 inmates managing to break free from the prison system in 2023, according to the Secretariat of Prison Administration and Resocialization (SAP). This unprecedented number of prison escapes is a setback for the current administration, led by Mauro Albuquerque since the establishment of SAP in 2019, which has generally shown improved results compared to the former Justice and Citizenship Secretariat (Sejus), that witnessed considerably higher number of escapees, such as 963 in 2017 and 1,041 in 2015.
Escapes on the Rise
The first year of Albuquerque's tenure in 2019 saw 48 inmates escaping from Ceará's prisons, a figure that has not been matched in the subsequent years. The best result was achieved in 2021, when only five escapes were recorded. Comparatively, there were 28 escapes in 2020 and 27 in 2022. Despite the recent spike, the period of Albuquerque's leadership still registers better numbers of escapes compared to the era of the former Justice and Citizenship Secretariat.
Escapes Under Investigation
Recently, two inmates identified as Antonio Rafael Braga Lima and Keven Ewerton de Sousa Vieira escaped from the Luciano Andrade Lima Penitentiary Unit. Both 27 years old, they have records for serious crimes, including robbery, drug trafficking, homicides, and participation in a criminal organization. Keven Ewerton is also accused of a double homicide in 2021. Authorities are currently engaged in efforts to recapture the escapees.
Albuquerque's Efforts and Future Challenges
Despite the recent escapes, the tenure of Mauro Albuquerque at the helm of SAP continues to show better escape numbers in comparison to the previous Justice and Citizenship Secretariat. However, the recent surge in the number of prison escapes underscores the persistent challenges facing the prison system in Ceará and raises questions about the effectiveness of current policies and measures in place to prevent such incidents.