About two hundred inmates escaped from the Prof. Noe de Azevedo prison in Bauru 349 km (217 miles) from Sao Paulo on Tuesday, according to Brazil’s military police operations centre.
Aerial images showed heavy smoke coming from the facility which was apparently set on fire by inmates.
The riot began at around 8 a.m. local time, authorities said, and the prisoners took advantage of the confusion to escape.
Prison authorities said the situation was under control by 11:45 a.m. while police confirmed at least 79 inmates had been recaptured.
The prison was designed to hold 1,124 inmates and was over capacity with 1,427 prisoners.
According to official data, more than 622,000 adults are behind bars in Brazil, 67 per cent more than the prisons were built to hold.
Since January 1, over 160 prisoners have been killed in a wave of deadly gang clashes across Brazil’s overcrowded prisons.
© 2017 Thomson Reuters