Sharing Hope through Justice
Jean Louis* sits at a table and speaks quietly, his voice barely audible over the traffic outside, as he recounts the events that led to his arrest and imprisonment at the age of 14. He had a disagreement with another young man in his Port-au-Prince neighborhood. When the disagreement escalated to a fight, Jean Louis was arrested and put in prison.
Jean Louis remembers the frightening adjustment to the often-violent social hierarchy of children’s prison as a young boy.
“For me, prison was hell. When you are in prison, the kids who have been there the longest are the leaders. They get to do whatever they want. They can beat you. I watched as kids who came the same time as me made the lives of the children who came after us miserable.”
Stressful conditions-- insufficient food, unclean water, and an almost complete lack of medical care—lead to conflict among imprisoned children who have been separated from their families. Many children develop mental and physical illnesses that can affect them for the rest of their lives if left untreated.