After a prison riot threatened their partners’ lives, these two Brazilian women relied on each other for support

NÍSIA FLORESTA, Brazil — It was late afternoon, and visiting hours at Alcaçuz Federal Penitentiary had just come to an end. Cecilia* was at home when her phone started buzzing nonstop. It wasn’t her day to visit Junior*, her boyfriend of eight years. He was serving time at Alcaçuz, the maximum-security prison in Brazil’s Rio Grande do Norte state. 

The messages started to pour in. A rebellion had broken out at the overpopulated prison.

Cecilia knew many women would be exiting the gates that Saturday in January 2017. They would be visiting their boyfriends, husbands and sons, held at one of five pavilions at Alcaçuz.

Read the rest of this story on The Lily.

By Jill Langlois

Photos by Lianne Milton for The Lily

Originally published on The Lily on August 7, 2018.

Reporting for this story was funded by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.