In the early afternoon of February 18, 2001, during family visiting hours, the biggest prison rebellion in Brazil’s history began in a few prisons in the state of São Paulo. Within hours, as television and radio spread word of the uprising to outlying units, some 28,000 inmates in 29 different prisons had joined in. The inmates took prison guards and hundreds of visiting family members, including children, hostage. In some units, the rebellion was soon contained, in others it extended until the following day. Before it was over, 19 inmates were dead.