The Carandiru Penitentiary was opened in the 1920s as the largest prison in Latin America. Hailed as a model prison, it was opened to the public and became one of Sao Paulo’s postcards.

Since 1940 Carandiru was noted for overcrowding and mismanagement, culminating in the infamous 1992 massacre that had 111 prisoners killed by the Military Police of São Paulo during a rebellion, a fact of great national and international repercussions.

In 2002, Carandiru was demolished and partially disabled, giving rise to the Juventude Park, the São Paulo Library and the São Paulo State Juventude Park Technical School.

The daily life in the dismantled Casa de Detenção, as well as the massacre stories, are remembered in several songs from groups such as Rational MC's, 509-E, Facção Central and Sepultura, plus the book "Diario de um Detento" of the former inmate Jocenir, and Dr. Dráuzio Varella"Estação Carandiru", which spawned the film "Carandiru" with rapper Sabotage.