To raise cash and keep high the moral of its vast number of associates, all criminals, the PCC (First Command of the Capital), the Brazilian prison gang to which most of São Paulo’s inmates belong has created a raffle in which the grand prize is not less than a two-bedroom apartment close to downtown São Paulo.
São Paulo houses more than one third of the close to 400,000 prisoners Brazil has. They are about 140,000. As for the PCC their notoriety comes from the series of attacks they unleashed earlier this year in São Paulo killing policemen and torching buses to protest what they called injustices.
The raffle tickets, informs the daily O Estado de S. Paulo, are freely sold in all the penitentiaries. Each one costs 15 reais (US$ 7) and inmates are not only encouraged but also pressured to buy at least 3 numbers. Most of the jailbirds got the three-numbers minimum quota, but others bought as many as six tickets.
The PCC does not run its own show, however. It counts on the numbers drawn by the government’s Federal Lottery.
Last month’s winner, a prisoner at the Temporary Detention Center in Osasco, in the greater São Paulo, had bought the minimum three tickets. The apartment he won is worth US$ 35,000 and is in a middle-class neighborhood next to a subway station with all amenities besides having restaurants and all kinds of stores close by.
The promotion can bring quite a stash of money to the First Command. In a single penitentiary located in the West side of the state the gang was able to raise US$ 25,000 with the tickets’ sale.
While part of the money collected goes for the purchase of the prize, the rest is used to fund other activities of the gang, some of them quite charitable like helping member’s families who are having trouble buying medicine and food or paying for the buses that transport the prisoners families to visit them in the interior, on weekends.
With Christmas just around the corner, the PCC has also been busy buying toys and sweets for the children of the associate inmates. This year, the litlte ones will also be entering in a draw where the top prizes will be bicycles.