Carandiru Penitentiary
Carandiru Penitentiary was a notorious prison
A prison is a place in which people are physically confined and, usually, deprived of a range of personal freedoms. Imprisonment or incarceration is a legal penalty that may be imposed by the state for the commission of a crime...

 located in São Paulo
São Paulo
São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil, the largest city in the southern hemisphere and South America, and the world's seventh largest city by population. The metropolis is anchor to the São Paulo metropolitan area, ranked as the second-most populous metropolitan area in the Americas and among...

, Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

. 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
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

 largest penitentiary, housing over 8,000 inmates. In 1992 it was the site of the Carandiru massacre
Carandiru Massacre
The Carandiru massacre took place on Friday, October 2, 1992 in Carandiru Penitentiary in São Paulo, Brazil, and is considered a major human rights violation in the history of Brazil.-History:...


Drauzio Varella
Drauzio Varella
Drauzio Varella, MD, is a Brazilian physician, educator, scientist and noted medical science popularizer in the press and TV, as well as best-selling author...

, 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 (Carandiru Station), describing his own experiences there and the dreadful conditions of the inmates. The book was later made into a movie (Carandiru
Carandiru (film)
Carandiru is a 2003 Brazilian and Argentine film directed by Hector Babenco. It is based on the book Estação Carandiru by Dr. Drauzio Varella, a physician and AIDS specialist, who is portrayed in the film by Luiz Carlos Vasconcelos....

, directed by Hector Babenco
Hector Babenco
Héctor Eduardo Babenco is an Argentine-born Brazilian film director, screenwriter, producer and actor.He has worked in several countries including Argentina, Brazil and the United States....

), and both were highly regarded by critics and the public.
The prison was demolished on December 9, 2002. One block was left intact to be used as a museum, it is now open to public, accessible via Carandiru Subway Station (Estação Carandiru). Today the Parque da Juventude complex is located on the site of the former penitentiary.

Cultural references

The Carandiru Penitentiary is the inspiration for the Penitenciaría Federal de Sona
Penitenciaría Federal de Sona
Penitenciaría Federal de Sona is a fictional prison in the TV series Prison Break. The prison is set in Panama...

, the prison Michael Scofield
Michael Scofield
Michael J. Scofield is the main protagonist in the American television series Prison Break. He is portrayed by Wentworth Miller. The character first appeared in the series pilot as a man who stages a bank robbery in order to get sent into the prison where his older brother, Lincoln Burrows , is...

 is incarcerated in during the third season of the US television series Prison Break
Prison Break
Prison Break is an American television serial drama created by Paul Scheuring, that was broadcast on the Fox Broadcasting Company for four seasons, from 2005 until 2009. The series revolves around two brothers; one has been sentenced to death for a crime he did not commit, and the other devises an...


Jorge Aragão
Jorge Aragão
Jorge Aragão , birth name Jorge Aragão da Cruz) is a Brazilian musician, singer/songwriter, working in the genres of samba and pagode. He is a multi-instrumentalist, and plays the guitar, surdo, cavaco and banjo, among other instruments...

refers to Carandiru in his song "O Iraque é Aqui"
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