Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Why Haiti Needs Prison Reform

This article uses the inhumane conditions in Haiti’s National Penitentiary to illustrate the poor condition of the prison system in general. Haiti’s prisons are way overcrowded and the rate of pretrial detention is extremely high. Unfortunately, the Haitian government doesn’t have the funds or will to improve the prisons itself. Haiti needs systemic change in order for its people’s human rights to be respected, inside and outside of prisons. Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text. Inside Haiti’s prisons: a nation battles crime and human rights abuses as it struggles to recover from the devastating 2010 earthquake Martin Bentham, London Evening Standard September 25, 2014 The former French naval officer looks down from the walls of Haiti’s National Penitentiary at the mass of prisoners crowded in the yards below and delivers a simple verdict. “It’s just not human,” says […]

Haiti’s police struggle to control ravaged capital

By JONATHAN M. KATZ (AP) PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — A police inspector taunted the gangster they call “Obama” through the bars of a downtown lockup. Stuffed into a tiny cell with nine other men, the 23-year-old inmate looked panicked, exhausted and freshly beaten. It’s guys like this, the pudgy cop said, who threaten to upend Port-au-Prince three months after the earthquake, exploiting the continuing chaos to commit murder, assaults and kidnappings just as the international community arrives with billions of dollars to rebuild the ravaged capital. Fears of such insecurity have prompted the U.S. government to invest millions in stabilization and security to protect its post-quake development programs. More than $422 million of U.S. aid has come from the Defense Department. The United States is expanding a pre-quake anti-crime effort — which focused on building infrastructure, community ties and police controls […]

Demonstration to Demand Release of Investigation on December 1, 2004 Prison Massacre, AHP, November 30, 2006

A sit-in is planned outside the National Penitentiary to demand publication of the results of the investigation into the slaughter that took place on December 1, 2004� Port-au-Prince, November 30, 2006 (AHP)- Ronald St-Jean, general coordinator of the Group for the Defense of the Rights of Political Prisoners, announced that a sit-in will be held on November 30 in front of the National Penitentiary to compel the authorities, he said, to publish the report of the events of December 1, 2004. � Several dozen people were shot dead at the National Penitentiary during incidents whose circumstances are still murky today. � “The results of this investigation that was announced by the former head of MINUSTAH, Juan Gabriel Vald�s, should be published to enable the families of the victims of this slaughter to obtain justice”, declared Mr. Saint-Jean. One of the […]

by CHAN Five months after Haiti�s presidential election on February 7th, several thousand pre-trial detainees and political prisoners remain within Haiti�s horrid prisons. The list of political prisoners includes former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune, folk-singer and activist So Ann Auguste, grassroots activist Paul Raymond, and well-known rara musician Yvon �Zap Zap� Antoine. The conditions inside the prisons are horrific. Prisoners in Haiti�s National Penitentiary, the country�s largest and most well-known prison, are often kept in unsanitary conditions with no access to medical care. Detainees are kept in over-crowded cells without lighting or ventilation, are sometimes barred access to washroom facilities, and are often beaten by prison guards during recreation times. Lavatory facilities are close to the prison�s water wells, raising concern about the contamination of water supplies. At a press conference held on April 6th, 2006, UN High Commissioner for […]

Delegation of media directors and civil society representatives unable to meet with Yvon Neptune

Port-au-Prince, 20 July 2006 (AHP) � A delegation of media directors and other civil-society personalities tried in vain on Thursday to visit former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune in the National Penitentiary located in the neighborhood of Pacot. Yvon Neptune has been on hunger strike for 15-months, that is to say since the tenth month of his incarceration by the interim regime following allegations he was implicated in the alleged massacre at �la-Scierie� in the municipality of Saint-Marc (97 kms to the north of the capital). Representatives of the National Penitentiary Administration (APENA) refused access to the group of journalists visiting the prison because a number of them were armed with cameras. The secretary general of the Group Defending Political Prisoners (GDP), Ronald St. Jean who was coordinating this visit, denounced the position of APENA. According to Mr. St. Jean the […]

Parliamentarians denounce sub-human conditions facing detainees incarcerated in Port-au-Prince’s prisons, AHP, July 6, 2006

Parliamentarians denounce sub-human conditions facing detainees incarcerated in Port-au-Prince’s prisons Port-au-Prince, 6 July 2006 (AHP) – The Chamber of Deputies’ Commission on Public Justice and Security denounced on Thursday the conditions of��those being held in Port-au-Prince’s National Penitentiary and its annex��located in the Pacot quarter of the city. Following a visit on Wednesday to the detention centers, the Vice-President of the Commission, Deputy Emmanuel Fritz G�rald��Bourjolly, judged the conditions facing the prisoners intolerable. The conditions are sub-human given that most detainees haven’ t appeared before a judge, must go to the toilet in the same rooms where they eat��and are left for days without being able to wash. The investigative arms of the courts have waited up to 10 or 11 months just to return an ordinance contrary to the prescribed law fixing the deadline at 3 months, he��stated. Mr. […]

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