Beyond the State and Without Police
Dr Sacha Darke, Reader in Criminology, University of Westminster

Brazilian APAC prisons operate at a distance from the state and without correctional officers. In contrast to Northern community prisons, APAC prison inmates not only oversee daily routines, but also disciplinary and security norms and procedures.

Of particular interest from the perspectives of decolonial, southern and interpretivist comparative criminology, APAC prisoners are also tasked with managing conflict. Such housekeeping powers and responsibilities are formally devolved to APAC prisoner councils as part of a wider focus on dignity, harmony and civil engagement.

The main subject of this paper is conflict resolution procedures; more specifically, the question who decides when and how to intervene. It is based on fieldwork at two prisons in the southern state of Paraná in 2022. Central to the findings presented in this paper was the importance research participants attached to those in positions of authority “keeping problems between us” and “leading without gossip.”

Photo credit: APAC Ituiutaba, FBAC