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News > Haiti

Haiti: 48 Inmates Released from Prolonged Pretrial Detention

  • According to a United Nations report, Haiti's prisons are operating at four times their capacity. Dec. 20, 2023.

    According to a United Nations report, Haiti's prisons are operating at four times their capacity. Dec. 20, 2023. | Photo: X/@SkandalNews

Published 20 December 2023 (9 hours 18 minutes ago)
Opinion

At the end of October, the Ministry of Justice and the Superior Council of the Magistracy created a special commission composed of four people to study the best way to reduce this phenomenon in the prisons.
 

On Tuesday, the government commissioner of this capital, Edler Guillaume, confirmed the release of 48 people who were in prolonged preventive detention at the National Penitentiary of Haiti.

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The Public Prosecutor's Office and the Citizen Protection Office launched a program to reduce overcrowding in prisons, which currently operate at more than three times their capacity.

Guillaume acknowledged that many of the inmates had been detained for more than five years for minor offenses and without access to lawyers or judges.

The government's priority is to combat this type of incarceration, which affects eight out of every 10 inmates, he said. The commissioner also assured that he plans to continue analyzing the cases of the inmates during this week in order to make legal decisions in favor of those who deserve it.

The tweet reads, "The Port-au-Prince Government Commissioner, Edler Guillaume, released 45 people from extended pre-trial detention at the National Penitentiary on Tuesday, December 19, 2023. In two days, 48 inmates regained their freedom. They were initially incarcerated for minor offences, according to the head of the Capital's Public Prosecutor's Office."

At the end of October, the Ministry of Justice and the Superior Council of the Magistracy established a special commission composed of four people to study the best way to reduce this phenomenon in the prisons.

For its part, the Lawyers' Collective for the Defense of Human Rights proposed the digitalization of the Haitian judicial system as one of the possible solutions to the problem, in addition to encouraging the political authorities to address the issue of judges' mandates that have not yet been renewed and to provide more means to the Penitentiary Administration to control the courts.

According to a United Nations report, Haiti's prisons are operating at four times their capacity and inmates have only 0.24 square meters to survive "little more than the surface of a chair".

The document notes that prisons face a severe food and medical supply crisis, while inmates are served only one meal a day. Detainees' access to medical care is almost non-existent, with only one doctor for every 1,16 inmates, and medicine supplies are scarce and limited.

In this context, the inmates are almost totally dependent on the care provided by charitable organizations, so that the conditions of detention are in themselves considered constituting torture, the text stated.

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