Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Mass Funeral for Haitians Who Died from Deplorable Prison Conditions

This article describes the scene at and context for a mass funeral the Port-au-Prince chief prosecutor put on for people who died at the National Penitentiary. Already known for the worst overcrowding in the world, Haiti’s prisons are facing even more of a hunger and malnutrition crisis lately. The majority of the prisoners have never been seen by a judge, including most of the ones in the mass funeral. Haiti’s government has a responsibility to offer basic services to its prisoners, and the problem of pre-trial detention urgently needs to be addressed. Mass funeral held for 20 Haitians who died in dismal prison David McFadden, ABC News February 21, 2017 Relatives wailed in grief or stared stoically as flowers were placed on 20 caskets at a mass funeral for the latest group of inmates who died miserably in Haiti’s largest prison, […]

Pretrial Detention and Malnutrition in Haiti’s Prisons

Haiti’s prisons are the most crowded in the world, with 454% occupancy. This leads to many kinds of preventable diseases, as well as malnutrition from the strain on resources at the prisons. Malnutrition has become even more of a problem recently, as Haiti faces a food shortage. Many of the inmates have not been before a judge yet: Pretrial detention is a rampant problem in Haiti’s justice system. As IJDH Director Brian Concannon describes, there is not much incentive for this to change because even the families of innocent inmates are roped into paying bribes to get their loved ones out of prison. Part of the article is bellow. Click HERE for the full text. AP Exclusive” Malnutrition killing inmates in Haiti jails David McFadden, The Washington Post February 20, 2017 PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Dozens of emaciated men with sunken […]

Pretrial Detention and Corruption in Haiti’s Justice System

Haiti’s justice system struggles with corruption and prolonged pre-trial detention. This article tells the story of a young girl who was illegally put in prison, awaiting for almost a year for a murder she did not commit. In the end, she was released due to the persistence of her attorneys but many aren’t so lucky, especially if they’re poor. In order to truly fix Haiti’s justice system, the root causes of prolonged detentions need to be addressed and nonprofits dealing with the problem need to work with Haitians to solve it. Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text. Haitian Teen Falls Into Trap of Dysfunctional Justice System Mackenzie Rigg, Youth Today April 23, 2015 When 13-year-old Camesuze Jean Pierre entered the iron gates of the Petionville women’s prison, she feared she would never get out. Crammed […]

Report of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Haiti, Gustavo Gallón

The Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Haiti recently published a report in preparation for the Human Rights Council’s 28th session. The report discusses economic, social and cultural rights; social inequality; deprivation of liberty and detention conditions; rule of law; human rights violations and impunity; and the effect of crises on human rights. It includes the following recommendation on cholera: A reparations commission should be established for the victims of the cholera epidemic in order to catalogue the damage suffered and the corresponding indemnification, identify those responsible and halt the epidemic, among other actions; The summary of the report is below. Click HERE for the pdf. February 9, 2015 The Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Haiti considers the situation to be complex but not insuperable. Following his second mission to the country, in July […]

Why Haiti’s Justice System Must Be Fixed

The targeting of poor people and political dissidents for arrest and prolonged detention is a major problem in Haiti. The Martelly administration has used these tactics to silence political opponents and limit freedom of speech in Haiti. Widespread corruption means a political prisoner may spend years in prison without a trial. Haiti’s justice system must be reformed so this is no longer possible. Part of the post is below. Click HERE for the full text. Guest post: The Targeted Arrest and Detention of Political Prisoners in Haiti Morenike Fajana & Nicole Phillips, Fair Trials International January 12, 2015 A combination of Haiti’s weak criminal justice system and dismal prison conditions creates a dire situation for Haitians accused of a crime. Haitian prisoners – the majority of which have yet to be charged with a crime – suffer prolonged pre-trial detention in over-crowded, unhygienic, and unsanitary conditions unless […]

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 […]

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