In 2015, a mother in Sao Paulo, Brazil, was caught stealing an Easter egg and chicken breast from a supermarket. The woman, known only as Maria, was then kept in detention for five months before her trial, after which she was found guilty of a first-degree crime.
She was briefly remanded during her appeal, but then in November 2016, the pregnant woman was sent to jail. While behind bars, she gave birth to a child and now nurses her baby in the cell.
Brazil is a country where violent crimes such as murders and robberies are not a rare occurrence. Yet is interesting to note that criminals are not given as severe punishments as Maria, as they often land deals with prosecutors or their lawyers have cite extenuating family or health circumstances to reduce their charges.
But Maria, who is a mother of four, will be kept away from her children for 3 years, and even her baby will be taken away from her in a few months.
Many people in Brazil are outraged over the injustice and inequality the woman is facing, and have drawn a comparison between her crime and punishment and that of others convicted of much worse things.
A legal ombudsman, Maíra Cora Diniz, calls Maria’s punishment “absurdly” disproportionate to her minor crime, which did not cause any violence or disturbance. Social media users and others also pointed out how the case was unfair to the newborn who will be kept away from his mother at this crucial time when she needs to nurse him.