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  • Writer's pictureGuyler C Delva

Over 142 Killed In Haiti's Prisons By Diseases, Including Cholera

Photo of a work of art taken during an exhibition organized by the Ministry of Culture in 2018 (picture by Jennifer D. Delva)

Joseph Guyler C. Delva

Oct. 14, 2022

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (HCNN)- Inmates in Haiti's prisons have been killed by the dozens over the past few months, including a number of them from cholera, in the Caribbean country's main detention center, in the capital Port-au-Prince.

At least 142 inmates have died in detention centers around the country from January 1 to October 10 this year, including 21 deaths from cholera at the national penitentiary, prison authorities told HCNN on Friday.

Police Inspector General, in charge of prisons around the country, Pierre René François, said detainees died from different diseases.

"Generally, they die from anemia, tuberculosis which is very common in the prison, and most recently of cholera," said François.

He added that prisoners often have vitamin D deficiency which makes them more vulnerable to certain diseases.

"We isolate those who are ill from the rest to avoid more contamination," he said

Some international institutions, such as World Food Program and Health Through Walls, sometimes help with food provision.

"Prisoners now face a more dire situation because of the complications caused by the fact that we can't find fuel, nor kooking gas," François stated

Officials at the health department said about 18 people have already been killed by cholera in Haiti during the past couple of weeks and that dozens of others would be infected and kept under observation.

"We are now confronted with a serious problem because of political unrest," he indicated. "Often we are not able to move around the city to get a series of things done, because roads are blocked and life often has come to a stand still," François explained.

Prison overcrowding is a big problem. According to international norms, "you should have more than 4 square meters for one prisoner, but here you have less than 1 square meter per prisoner."

"Because of this situation diseases find an easy way to rapidly spread, and also one other thing that really frustrates and upsets inmates is the prolonged preventive detention," stated François.

" Often times, some people in preventive custody spend more jail time than what they would get, according to the law, if they were convicted after a trial," he added.

Following the earthquake of 2010, the cholera pandemic had claimed some 10,000 lives and had infected about 820,000 people, accoding to data obtained from the US Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC).

Joseph Guyler C. Delva


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