HomeNewsBriefPrison Break in Haiti Highlights Flailing Justice System
BRIEF

Prison Break in Haiti Highlights Flailing Justice System

HAITI / 13 AUG 2014 BY KYRA GURNEY EN

Authorities in Haiti are scrambling to recapture more than 300 prisoners who escaped during an attack on a prison near the capital, pointing to serious weaknesses in the justice system.

According to the Haitian authorities, the August 10 attack on the Croix des Bouquets prison was carried out to free Clifford Brandt, son of a wealthy businessman, who is accused of leading a kidnapping gang, reported El Nacional. A total of 329 prisoners, including Brandt, escaped during a shootout between guards and armed assailants.

Following the attack, Haitian authorities set up police checkpoints and reinforced security at the border with the Dominican Republic, reported the Miami Herald. On August 11, national police chief Godson Orelus stated that authorities had recaptured as many as 10 inmates. Brandt was detained the following day near the border with the Dominican Republic, after the Haitian government offered a $22,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.

Orelus said that the authorities were conducting an investigation to determine whether or not the attack was planned by individuals within the prison, reported the Miami Herald.

InSight Crime Analysis

The prison break highlights the shortcomings of Haiti's courts and penitentiary system, which have failed to promptly bring to trial or adequately house huge numbers of prisoners. The country has one of the most overcrowded prison systems in the world, at over 400 percent capacity, according to the International Center for Prison Studies. This is due in part to the overuse of pretrial detention, with some 70 percent of the prison population yet to stand trial. According to the Miami Herald, Brandt had been in pretrial detention for 22 months in the Croix des Bouquets prison, which housed 899 inmates in a space designed for a maximum of 768.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Haiti

Haiti's last major prison break occurred during the country's 2010 earthquake, which damaged the National Penitentiary, allowing 4,500 prisoners to escape. The devastation left by the earthquake seriously undermined security in Haiti, and the recent prison break is another blow to the country's efforts to rebuild its institutions.

If proven, Brandt's ability to stage a mass prison break is a worrying sign for the authorities, and could discourage witnesses from testifying against criminals for fear that they could escape.

Brandt has confessed to leading a kidnapping gang, which was also involved in money laundering and arms trafficking. He is accused of participating in the 2012 kidnapping of the children of a wealthy banker, along with 18 others, including several police officers.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

CARIBBEAN / 6 APR 2011

The United Nations mission in Haiti told Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in a memo that it had seen a rise…

CARIBBEAN / 9 JUL 2021

Two days on from the nighttime assassination of Haiti President Jovenel Moïse in Port-au-Prince, competing theories have failed to provide…

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 22 FEB 2019

A Florida gun shop owner was recently convicted for trafficking firearms to Haiti with the help of a senator and…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…

THE ORGANIZATION

Informing US State Department and European Union

1 APR 2022

InSight Crime Co-director McDermott briefed the US State Department and other international players on the presence of Colombian guerrillas in Venezuela and the implication this has for both nations.  McDermott…