CSC in Haiti

Haiti flag

The United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH)

The Correctional Service Canada (CSC) first became involved with Haiti in the mid-1990s. At that time, CSC experts were deployed to Haiti through the United Nations (UN), and Haitian correctional workers were trained in CSC facilities.

In 2004, CSC participated in a UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations Assessment Mission in Haiti. CSC subsequently developed the correctional component of the assessment report. The report led to a UN Security Council resolution that included "the re-establishment of the corrections system" as one of its components.

In 2006, at the request of the UN, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) [now the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD)] asked CSC to deploy staff members as corrections advisors to MINUSTAH.

CSC Deployments to MINUSTAH

MINUSTAH is one of the Government of Haiti's key partners in developing strategies to reform all aspects of its criminal justice system. The Government of Haiti recognizes the need to respect the rule of law and is striving toward establishing international standards of incarceration as part of a system-wide prison reform agenda. Canadian corrections experts provided significant leadership in this area in their roles as MINUSTAH correctional advisors.

From 2007 to 2013, CSC managed 49 Canadian correctional deployments to MINUSTAH – 45 CSC deployments and four provincial correctional deployments from British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec. These correctional experts were influential in improving prison conditions by providing advice to all levels of Haitian correctional staff. They provided mentoring and training in areas such as prison management, contingency plan development and promotion of international human rights standards. Mentorship activities focused on improving methods of tracking and maintaining inmate files, ensuring appropriate living conditions for inmates (focusing on the areas of health, hygiene and nourishment), addressing pretrial detention and prison overcrowding, and recommending and supervising infrastructure projects to address security concerns. In addition to these activities, the Direction de l'Administration Pénitentiaire (DAP) relied on Canadian expertise to develop and deliver its correctional training program for new recruits.

On October 28, 2012, the Prison Civile de la Croix-des-Bouquets was officially opened by the Prime Minister of Haiti. The prison is a Canadian project funded through DFATD's Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force (START) program. CSC staff provided support and technical advice in the project management, and assisted with policy development.

Impact of the 2010 Earthquake

In January 2010, MINUSTAH incurred significant setbacks as a result of a catastrophic earthquake that inflicted major damage on infrastructure, including prisons, in and around Port-au-Prince. Fortunately, CSC staff members were not injured. On February 18, 2010, a Post-Disaster Needs Assessment was officially launched in Port-au-Prince to assess the impact of the earthquake. A senior staff member from CSC conducted the corrections portion of this assessment.

In April 2010, CSC sent a structural engineer on a short assignment to evaluate the structure of the prisons that were damaged in the earthquake. In all, 11 DAP buildings (including prisons, detention centres and administrative offices) were structurally assessed and recommendations for each were made and submitted to DFATD.

From November 2013 to March 2014, a Senior Correctional Advisor from CSC was on a bilateral deployment, funded by DFATD, to l’Office de la Protection du Citoyen (OPC) in Haiti. The advisor provided expertise on a broad range of issues, and assisted the OPC with the ongoing review of standards within the Haitian Correctional System. The deployment was successful in identifying challenges and targeting key issues within prisons and police stations.