Haiti tops list for persons imprisoned without conviction

By Jamaican Observer, Oct. 5, 2018

A new Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) report indicates that between 1999 and 2017, 79 per cent of prisoners in Haiti were detained without being sentenced, which according to the report is above the Latin American and Caribbean region average of 44 percentage for the same period.

According to the report in the last 10 years, the region has introduced major criminal reforms to speed up procedures and speed up judgements that in most cases have led to a downward trend in relative terms. Nonetheless, the number of persons deprived of their liberty without conviction remains high.

On a list of 24 countries, Haiti heads the list with 79 per cent of people detained without conviction followed in by Paraguay, Bolivia , Dominican Republic and Uruguay .

The five countries with the least number of people in non-sentenced custody are Belize, Panama, Jamaica, Nicaragua, and Trinidad and Tobago.

The report also stated that in order to achieve better spending in criminal justice services, the region needs more jail time and harsher sentences for the most dangerous criminals.

However, the IDB wonders if the region is moving in the opposite direction. Between 2002 and 2014, the penitentiary population of the region doubled in 17 countries, totalling nearly 600,000 to 1.2 million, with an annual growth rate of 8 per cent… “If the prison population continues to to increase at the current rate, in 2030, the region will have about 3.4 million people deprived of their liberty and an additional public expenditure of at least 13 billion additional dollars.”

The report suggests that the reduction of unjustified prolonged pretrial detention is the most advantageous measure to improve the quality of public spending on the security of citizens.

 

Posted Oct. 7, 2018