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Inmates in Haiti prisons are at risk of death through starvation - new study

Haiti Prison Riot
Dieu Nalio Chery
A National Police officer walks outside the National Penitentiary in downtown Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Wednesday, June 14, 2017.

Inmates in Haiti’s overcrowded prison system are being subjected to a starvation-level diet, putting them substantially at risk for malnutrition and even death, a new University of Florida study says.

The study found that among 1,060 men incarcerated across two Haitian prisons — the severely overcrowded National Penitentiary in Port-au-Prince and the smaller but also overcrowded prison in the city of Mirebalais in the Central Plateau — the mean number of calories the inmates were getting per day was 571.

The level is consistent with starvation levels, the study released on Tuesday found. Making matters worse, said Arch G. Mainous III, the study’s lead author, is that the number of calories consumed per day showed a statistically significant decrease between when researchers first started the study and then did a follow-up months later.

The research comes as an increasing number of inmates in Haiti’s overcrowded prisons die as a result of a lack of food, water and medication. Between January and April, the United Nations Security Council documented 54 prison deaths related to malnutrition. More inmates have died since then, with a lack of food cited as the cause, along with COVID-19 and cholera.

Read more at our news partner, the Miami Herald.