Home About Us CJIS CJIS Link July 2012 CJIS Helps Identify Escapees from Haitian Prison

CJIS Helps Identify Escapees from Haitian Prison

CJIS Helps Identify Escapees from Haitian Prison

In January 2010, an earthquake devastated the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, injuring more than 300,000 people and leaving more than a million people homeless. The earthquake also destroyed the city’s main jail, and almost all of the jail’s 4,000 inmates escaped.

The FBI’s legal attaché in Santo Domingo, which covers criminal events in Haiti, obtained biographic information of the escapees and provided the information to the CJIS Division’s Global Initiatives Unit (GIU). The GIU gave the information to the Division’s Special Identities Unit (SIU), which placed stops on the records so that if an escapee was located, the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) would alert the CJIS Division of the match.

Damage to the prison at Port-au-Prince Haiti.jpg
Damage to the prison at Port-au-Prince, Haiti

In February 2010, the GIU received a compact disc containing 256 fingerprint records, including 147 complete ten-print submissions and 89 two-finger submissions related to the escaped prisoners. CJIS Division personnel processed the submissions via the IAFIS resulting in 139 matches with existing records. Those fingerprints were added to the records that the SIU had already placed stops on.

Since the earthquake, some of the escapees have gone to the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince to apply for visas in an effort to flee to the United States. When an individual applies for a U.S. visa, the individual is required to submit their fingerprints and biographic information.

When personnel at the Embassy process the fingerprints and biographic information that matches the information from an escapee, a silent hit is activated, and the SIU is notified. The SIU personnel then contact the Embassy personnel to inform them that the individual is an escaped prisoner. Embassy personnel then contact the Haitian Police. In many cases, Embassy personnel have been able to coordinate efforts with the Haitian Police to keep the escaped prisoner from leaving the Embassy until the police arrive to take the individual into custody.

Since 2010, the CJIS Division has helped the U.S. Embassy identify several escapees who have applied for visas for entry into the United States. As a result, 13 escaped prisoners were arrested and returned to the custody of the Haitian Police.


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