By Sam Cowie

It was early evening on January 1, 2017, when Maria heard that a riot was under way at Complexo Penitenciario Anisio Jobim (COMPAJ) - the prison where her two sons Antony, 27, and Antonio, 22, were being held.

Maria - an alias she requested for security reasons - spoke to Al Jazeera from her small red brick home in a poor Manaus neighbourhood. 

Her son Antonio had been sent to the prison in September, his third sentence for stealing motorbikes. He entered as a marked man, having supposedly informed on someone when he was arrested.

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Thumbnail: Flickr CC Rob.