Saturday, February 6, 2010


There's an article from the Washington Post that I just read on Google News entitled Haitian earthquake upends country's criminal justice system. What a bunch of crock! The justice system here in Haiti has been a joke for as long as I've been here (twelve years and counting). I'm a regular visitor at the local prison and can tell you that the system was broken way before the earthquake.
Street children are jailed because the merchants consider them a pain and they'll often spend months in prison because they can't afford legal representation. Minors should not be imprisoned with adults but because the children don't have birth certificates or other documentation there's no proof that they are children and so they remain there. People often wait months to know why they were arrested. One young man was there 20 months before he went before a judge who dismissed charges against him. There is no justice for the poor while those with means hire lawyers who arrange their release no matter what crime was committed. There are no public defenders (to speak of) and no one ensuring that the rights of individuals are respected. Oh, there are real criminals in jail who should rightly be there. There are few who are completely innocent but many are there for petty crimes and they will serve years in squalor and deprivation, locked up 23 hours a day in a cell that is too small, that has no plumbing and no beds. The earthquake did not upend Haiti's criminal justice system, it just brought its glaring failure to light.


  1. Thanks for being there for the prisoners in Les Cayes.

  2. You are 100% right!! I wish they would publish the story the way you just stated it - the facts! The news engages in these types of blunders quite regularly, it seems. Thank you for seeing the injustice of this and doing whatever you can, when you can.

  3. I sent an email to the Washington Post asking them to follow up on this story. Hopefully if more people realize how bad and how long this has been going on it will put pressure on the justice system to do just that...bring justice!