Haitian Prison Break Highlights Larger Justice Dysfunction

Aug 13, 2014

Accused Haitian kidnapper Clifford Brandt
Credit Haitian National Police

  The prison breakout in Haiti last weekend was one of the impoverished country’s worst. More than 300 inmates escaped – and many are alleged violent offenders. But the getaway highlights larger problems.

The recently built penitentiary in Croix-des-Bouquets, outside Port-au-Prince, was funded by Canada and was hailed as a modern facility. But the breakout may well have had more to do with Haiti’s justice culture than with its jail security.

The most prominent fugitive was Clifford Brandt, a wealthy Haitian awaiting trial on kidnapping charges. Brandt was captured Tuesday night, but Haiti experts point out that the investigation into the escapes is already focused on whether he paid off guards or other officials inside the prison.