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Haiti - Justice : Inauguration of the new civil prison for women in Cabaret
The new civil prison for women in Cabaret was funded by the United States Department of State through the Bureau of International Narcotics Affairs and Enforcement (BINL) to the tune of US $8 million and work performed by the Haitian firm Panexus. This new penitentiary complex of two-story built on an area of 6,144 m2 can accommodate between 250-300 inmates, or five square meters per detained. The work began in August of 2013 and prison should be fully operational in March 2016.
This prison is equipped with classrooms, cells with toilets, a clinic, four watchtowers, bathrooms, a large cafeteria and a solar electrification system.
These facilities go beyond international standards for the area allocated per detained. The building is self-contained and equipped with solar panels and inverters allowing uninterrupted power supply with its own water supply.
The civil prison for women located in Cabaret is much more than women's detention site, as it will provide a safer environment, more humane, focused on the rehabilitation and integration rather than incarceration and storage. With this objective, the jail has space for vocational training, one for exercise, and a hospital supported by the Project "Health Through Walls" of USAID. These features help ensure that inmates are ready to contribute productively to society after release.
"Since my accession to the head of the Ministry of Justice in January 2015, I bear special attention to prison conditions, both in terms of legality and in terms of the living conditions of detainees," said the Minister of Justice of the Republic.
In his speech for the occasion, Ambassador Peter Mulrean declared "The U.S. government is determined to support the respect of human rights for all Haitian citizens, independent of their social status or their political class. This significant investment by INL in a prison is proof. However, the construction of detention centers is not a long term solution to prison overpopulation or temporary detention. Haiti needs more short-term initiatives such as Operation 'Coup de Poing' of the Ministry of Justice, aimed at reducing the number of people in custody. These initiatives also need to be accompanied by long-term reforms to strengthen the Haitian judicial sector. "
The Ambassador also stated "The US government remains commitment to help Haiti to identify ways to reduce overcrowding and to fight against preventive detention." According to Ambassador Mulrean, the Minister of Justice Pierre Richard Casimir, the Director of the National Police of Haiti, Godson Orélus and their team have done an impressive job to increase the number of recruits assigned to the Penitentiary Administration, especially an increased representation of women.
This new prison replaces an outdated facility in Pétion-ville that was built for 50 inmates but currently houses 305 people. The Women prison of Cabaret will fill a void as the only detention center for women in Haiti.
Furthermore the Ministry of Justice currently finalizing the construction of civil prisons of Hinche, Fort-Liberté and Petit-Goâve