BBC News

Haitian prison rife with malnutrition and disease

Published
image copyrightAP
image captionSome 4,400 inmates are housed in squalid conditions at the National Penitentiary in the centre of Port-au-Prince, just a block away from government headquarters.
image copyrightAP
image captionCells originally made for 20 inmates are crammed with between 80 and 100 men, who remain locked down for 22 hours a day.
image copyrightAP
image captionMany prisoners sleep in makeshift hammocks suspended from the ceiling or squeeze four to a bunk. They are forced to defecate into plastic bags as there are no latrines in the cells.
image copyrightAP
image captionOvercrowding, malnutrition and infectious diseases have contributed to an upsurge of inmate deaths at this prison - 21 died just last month.
image copyrightAP
image captionConditions in Haiti prisons were considered "inhumane" by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in 2008.
image copyrightAP
image captionVisiting relatives are allowed to bring in food and cigarettes to prisoners. But the large majority are dependent on the prison's meals, served twice a day. The meals are made of rationed supplies of rice, oats or cornmeal.
image copyrightAP
image captionFood provisions have been affected by insufficient state funds, according to prison authorities, leading to deadly cases of malnutrition-related ailments such as beriberi and anaemia.
image copyrightAP
image captionThis prisoner, too weak to stand, has been treated at the penitentiary's infirmary.
image copyrightAP
image captionEven clean water was said to often be in short supply.
image copyrightAP
image captionSome inmates spend the recreation time playing checkers or dominoes.
image copyrightAP
image captionA prisoner told AP: "This is hell. Getting locked up in Haiti will drive you crazy if it doesn't kill you first."

Related Topics

  • Prisons
  • Haiti
  • Crime

More on this story

  • Haiti country profile