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Brazil top court rules pregnant woman will no longer serve pre-trial detention in jail

[JURIST] Brazil's Supreme Federal Court [official website, in Portuguese] ruled [judgment, PDF, in Portuguese] that defendants who are pregnant women, mothers with young children or people with disabilities, who are accused of non-violent crimes, will not be detained in jail before their trials, but will be under house arrest.

According to Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] the decision came in the wake of public outcry regarding a pregnant woman who was arrested for marijuana possession and gave birth in jail while awaiting her trial. HRW says [report] that up to 15,000 women could be released.

While HRW celebrates the decision, the organization says:

BrazilĀ“s incremental steps on law and prison reform have still a way to go, both to address excessive pretrial detention for all, and ensure all pregnant women and mothers in detention are held in humane conditions, with adequate health care, in compliance with Brazilian law and international standards.
The organization says that Brazilian prisons lack adequate care for pregnant women and newborns. Last December HRW reported [report] on worsening prison conditions in Brazil, including mass pre-trial detention.

On January 1, 2017, 56 inmates died [JURIST report] in a Brazilian prison riot, leading to the dismissal of the head of the jail.

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