Incarceration and Social Security Benefits in Brazil: Children and Family Rights Perspective

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 15:15
Location: Hörsaal 41 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Joice VIEIRA, Unicamp, Brazil
Tirza AIDAR, Unicamp, Brazil
Brazil created an “incarceration benefit” in 1960, to account for the financial impact of incarceration on family subsistence. The benefit is a right, and it is backed by the same principle that regulates the right to a death pension: ensuring the survival of dependents of a worker who has contributed to the social security system (Law 3.807 /1960). The Federal Constitution of 1988, for instance, through an amend enacted in 1998, establishes that only “low income” taxpayers are entitled to the incarceration benefit. “Low income” is defined in a specific annual directive for benefits assessment. In 2013, inmates who earned a monthly salary of up to R$ 971,78 (nine hundred seventy-one reals and eighty cents, equivalent to approximately US$ 245,00 in September 2015) were eligible to the benefit. Social security contributions are managed by the federal government and therefore the benefit to convicts' dependents is also federally regulated. Using government data sources and reviewing previous qualitative studies, this paper discuss the economic impact of incarceration on family organization, especially on children. Available statistical data are used to profile the Brazilian incarceration boom, convicts and their dependents, beneficiaries of social security in this case. We present an estimate of the coverage of the benefit in the last decade and the social security costs incurred. We also analyze the regional variations in access to the benefit, which could be explained in part by the characteristics of the convicts and by the irregularly distribution of formal employment over the Brazilian territory. The quantitative data were extracted the Brazilian Statistical Yearbooks, compiled by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE); the 2010 demographic census; the administration reports of the Social Security Technology and Information Enterprise (Dataprev) and the National Assessment of Penitentiary Information (InfoPen), an information system managed by the Ministry of Justice.