Three prison guards were admitted to hospital this week after being kicked, punched and in one case bitten by drunken inmates.
The attack took place as the guards were leading 37 prisoners to breakfast in Castelo Branco prison – the country’s “bad boy” institution which has seen superglue attacks, drug overdoses and breakouts, all in the last two years.
Only in April, eight prisoners ended up on the critical list with heart failure after consuming cannabinoids – most likely THC.
Initial reports had been that the drug involved was ketamine – the horse anaesthetic – but these were later discounted.
This week’s upset has been blamed on “stills” that convicts keep in their cells, making alcohol from fruit.
“Chicha”, as the drink is dubbed, has a powerful kick – and this is what got the better of the three guards at 8.30am on Wednesday.
The men were kicked and punched, and had to be treated at Hospital Lamato Lusitano, reports Correio da Manhã.
The tabloid adds that two of the guards were discharged during the afternoon, but the one who had been bitten was kept in for tests to exclude any “contagious diseases”.
Meantime, prison guard syndicate spokesman Júlio Rebelo has been outlining some of the problems faced by his members in Castelo Branco.
“The main one is the lack of male guards,” he told CM.
Castelo Branco has 69 guards, 16 of which are women, he explained.
“It is not enough to best control people and cells,” he added.
Many of the cells are thought to hide these homemade “chicha” stills, in 5-litre water bottles, and even plastic bags.
Castelo Branco’s superglue ‘attack’ hit the headlines last year, when a number of locks in the prison had to be replaced, “including the fitting of a completely new door to the office of prison governor”, according to CM.