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The massacre was triggered by a prisoner revolt within the prison. The police made little if any effort to negotiate with the prisoners before the military police stormed the building, as the prison riot became more difficult for prison guards to control. The resulting casualties were 111 prisoners killed: 102 from gunshots fired by the military police and nine from stab wounds apparently inflicted by other prisoners before the arrival of the police. None of the sixty eight police officers were killed. Survivors claimed that the police also fired at inmates who had already surrendered or were trying to hide in their cells.
The commanding officer of the operation, Colonel Ubiratan Guimarães, was initially sentenced to 632 years in prison for his mishandling of the rebellion and subsequent massacre. On 16 February 2006 a Brazilian court voided Guimarães' conviction because of mistrial claims; the court accepted his argument that he was only following orders. Several human rights groups labeled the situation as a "step backward" and a contribution to the culture of impunity regarding police violence in Brazil. Guimarães, who was also a member of the São Paulo state legislature, was assassinated in September 2006, in a crime apparently unrelated to the Carandiru event.
The massacre led to consternation amongst other Brazilian inmates, some of whom formed a criminal organization called the First Command of the Capital in 1993. This group is believed to be responsible for the death of José Ismael Pedrosa, director of the prison at the time.
The prison was demolished on December 9, 2002.
- These events are documented in the book "Estação Carandiru" by Dr. Dráuzio Varella and inspired the 2003 movie Carandiru.
- These events also were spoken about in the song "Manifest" on the Chaos A.D. album by Brazilian thrash metal band Sepultura.
- It inspired the song "Haiti" by Caetano Veloso with Gilberto Gil, protesting racial discrimination and social inequality, on their 1993 album "Tropicália 2."
- It is also mentioned by the group Racionais in their songs "Diario de um Detento" and "Vida Loca III", and also in the song "19 Rebellions" by the British group Asian Dub Foundation.
- Mariner, Joanne; Cavallaro, James (1998). Behind bars in Brazil. Human Rights Watch. ISBN 1564321959, 9781564321954. http://books.google.com/books?id=MtvFtrjV9woC&pg=PA111&dq=Carandiru&hl=en&ei=TZMaTJ64GueiOOHXoeEK&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CDYQ6AEwAzgK#v=onepage&q=Carandiru&f=false.
- Carandiru, das Gefaengnissmassaker in Sao Paulo (Ger.), 1995, Editor: Amnesty International FDCL-Verlag, Author: Elói Pietá & Justino Pereira, ISBN: 3-923020-15-5
- "Brazil jail massacre: Policeman convicted". BBC. 30 June 2001. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/1415178.stm.
- "Comandante da invasão do Carandiru é morto em SP" (in Portuguese). Terra Networks. September 21, 2006. http://noticias.terra.com.br/brasil/interna/0,,OI1131906-EI5030,00.html. Retrieved 19 April 2010.
- "Brazil annuls jail deaths verdict". BBC. February 16, 2006. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4718592.stm. Retrieved 17 June 2010.
- "Polícia investiga ligações da mãe de Carla Cepollina" (in Portuguese). O Globo. September 21, 2006. http://oglobo.globo.com/sp/mat/2006/09/21/285752644.asp.