The criminalization of drug production and distribution in Brazil has led the growth of criminal organizations and hindered the rule of law. The war on drugs is the main motivator of police operations in poor communities, which frequently end in the death of local residents and police officers. The war on drugs has also fuelled an explosion in prosecutions and lengthening prison sentences, as well as outbreaks of deadly prison riots. Beyond contributing to extreme rises in levels of homicide and over-burdening the Criminal Justice System, Brazil’s war on drugs has failed to achieve any alleged crime fighting objectives. Drugs are more plentiful now and stronger than in the 1970s, when the United States began pushing the rest of the world to fight the illegal drug trade.
In this event, Dr Sacha Darke, Brazilian Judge Marcelo Semer and Dr Roxana Pessoa Cavalcanti discuss the effects and problematics of Brazil's war on drugs from three complementary perspectives. Dr. Darke examines the symbiotic issues that exist between the war on drugs and Brazil's prison system. Judge Semer examines the demise of due process in the criminal courts. Finally, Dr. Cavalcanti draws on her research on the perspectives of young people living in Brazil's most disadvantaged communities.