Hell is a Haitian prison

Kate Heartfield of the Ottawa Citizen reports on the Haitian prison system, reputed to be one of the worst in the world (see article here).

At one prison in Port-au-Prince, the average cell space per prisoner is 0.42 meters square. That’s less than the the amount of space you’d need to stand up and swing your arms around.

Imagine living with other people at that distance from you, sleeping in shifts because you can’t all lie down at the same time. Add in, of course, inadequate toilet facilities, disease and danger.

Heartfield also reports on Canada’s policy of deporting Haitian immigrants to Canada back to Haiti. Many of these deportees do not speak Creole, Haiti’s primary language.

The Canadian government has claimed to work to improve the justice and prison system in Haiti (though in fact, the situation has deteriorated since Canada took charge – see here). Heartfield comments

It also doesn’t make much sense for Canada to dole out vast amounts of money with one hand so Haiti can deal with its prison and crime problems, while contributing to those very problems with the other.

Once they get out of detention, many deportees fall in with much worse criminals, and contribute to Haiti’s massive crime problem. There’s also a possibility they’ll fall victim to the lynch-mob justice that has taken root in the absence of official justice.