Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

The Post-Earthquake Prison Massacre Haitian Officials Want You to Forget (

By Chris Cassidi, Even before a 7.0-magnitude earthquake rocked Haiti earlier this year, the government acknowledged that its 17 prisons “fell far short of international standards.” That might be putting it mildly: the International Crisis Group, for one, called the Haitian prison system “a powder keg awaiting a spark.” Now that evidence is surfacing about how guards fired into a crowd of unarmed inmates at a prison in the southern city of Les Cayes, it’s becoming ever clearer just how miserable the country’s prisons really were — and how unwilling officials are to fix them. On Jan. 12, when Haiti’s earthquake hit, the 19th-century prison at Les Cayes contained 467 detainees in just 14 cells — quadruple the facility’s intended capacity. Fully three-fourths of the population was made up of pre-trial detainees who hadn’t been convicted of any crime. […]

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