The Government of Haiti (GOH) continues to rebuild and improve the capacity of its law enforcement, corrections, and justice sector. The Haitian National Police (HNP), Haiti’s sole security institution, is increasingly taking on the responsibility for security in the country with limited assistance from the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). The HNP force has grown by more than 3,300 officers since 2010 to more than 12,000 police as of Spring 2015, bringing the Government of Haiti closer to its goal of a 15,000-strong force by the end of 2016. Significant challenges remain, however. Haiti’s infrastructure is poor, and the government faces chronic budget shortages. The corrections and justice sectors are weak; overcrowding and high rates of pre-trial detention in Haiti’s prisons continue to pose human rights, humanitarian, and rule of law challenges. Haiti’s judiciary remains the poorest functioning institution in the Haitian public sector. Haiti’s porous borders enable cocaine and marijuana from South America and Jamaica to transit on its way to U.S. markets which, in addition to posing problems for the United States, undermines the rule of law in this fragile country by fostering corruption.
Strengthening Haiti’s law enforcement capacity is a key U.S. Government priority. Augmenting the HNP’s ability to protect and maintain civilian security and stability ultimately will allow MINUSTAH to withdraw. This includes improving the law enforcement capabilities of the Government of Haiti to maintain public order and reduce the attractiveness of illegal migration and the ability of criminals to use Haiti as a transit point for drugs being trafficked into the United States. Haiti passed an ambitious five-year police development plan in 2012, and INL aims to help the GOH strengthen the HNP in size, reach, and capabilities. Assistance focuses on helping the HNP to develop essential budgeting, strategic planning, and administrative capabilities needed to sustain a force, recruiting and training new police cadets to form the core of a credible, competent police force, mentoring key offices to improve internal oversight, and refurbishing police infrastructure. INL contributes police and corrections advisors to MINUSTAH to mentor HNP units directly, enhancing Haitian police skills in investigations, patrols, crime response, curriculum development, cadet training, prison management, and police operations. INL is also working with Haiti’s Supreme Judicial Council to improve judicial oversight and accountability through training, expand Haiti’s counternarcotics police coverage and capabilities, and help the GOH develop a modern, secure, and humane prison system that protects the rights of both prisoners and the public.
INL has provided support to cadet classes of the HNP School, helping the police to add more than 3,300 trained and commissioned officers to the force since 2010. INL has also constructed six new police stations and has completed significant repairs to the HNP School. INL also facilitates the deployment of Creole-speaking New York Police Department officers who helped develop and expand the HNP’s Community Policing initiative.
INL has provided training for corrections personnel to more effectively manage prisons, as well as equipment, vehicles, a pilot vocational training program and expansion of the Automated Fingerprint Identification System. INL is building three new prisons in Haiti, with the goal of adding almost 700 new beds to address severe overcrowding and help create more secure and humane conditions for the prison population.
INL provides cross-training to police, prosecutors, and judges, and has trained 2,360 justice sector actors on topics such as ethics, trafficking in persons, corruption, gender-based violence, and investigative techniques.
INL also provided training in partnership with the Miami-Dade Police Department and equipment to help the HNP Counternarcotics Unit (BLTS) improve operations and quadruple in size. INL renovated a seized property in Port-au-Prince to house canines and their trainers, and is constructing seven smaller facilities, including airport canine compounds, key border check points, and maritime facilities (in cooperation with the Haitian Coast Guard) to support BLTS’ deployment throughout the country.