Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Haiti’s Incarcerated Minors: My Friends, the Children Ask for Freedom

By Alice Speri, Women’s International Perspective • Outside the National Penitentiary in Port-au-Prince. Photograph courtesy of the author. • Eleven-year-old Carmen Suze quarreled with a classmate and ended up in jail. Barely audible, she explains that her friend had lifted her skirt and had been the first to throw a rock. The plastic butterfly hairclips holding her braids together make her look even younger. Suze says that she did not realize how badly she had hit her back. Her father had offered the girl’s parents some money to take her to a hospital, but they did not. Her classmate died eight days later. Suze is the youngest of 58 minors currently incarcerated in Port-au-Prince’s penitentiaries – held next to adult inmates, with no trial, and in degrading conditions. For decades before the January earthquake devastated Haiti’s capital, the country was one […]

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