Michelle Karshan and staff and participants of Alternative Chance/Chans Altenativ in Haiti
A self-help, advocacy program for criminal deportees in Haiti
Phone, fax, mail
Mission and Partners
Mission & Partners
Attorneys & Clients
Helpful info
Media Coverage
Articles, television, etc.
Brochure in plain format
Annual Awards & Benefit Dinner
November 22, 2008 benefit
How You Can Help.
Your help is vital to our work.
June 2006 Note on Our Work
Photos & Photo Credits
Photos of Alternative Chance and life in Haiti for criminal deportees
Links for resources, analysis and legal resources
Job Readiness
Links to resources
Women Criminal Deportees in Haiti
International Women's Day and Women Criminal Deportees in Haiti
New life is no life for U.S. ex-cons in Haiti
Chicago Tribune article about criminal deportees in Haiti
Continue to Suspend Deportation to Haiti by Michelle Karshan
Sun Sentinel article by Michelle Karshan
Alternative Chance documents conditions and human rights concerns on behalf of criminal deportees in 2009 in letter to UNHCR
Alternative Chance list of concerns re conditions of criminal deportees in Haiti. Addressed to UNHCR in 2009
Being Deported to Post Earthquake Haiti by Michelle Karshan, Alternative Chance
Alternative Chance warns of life threatening conditions and death by cholera if people are deported to Haiti

Mission and Partners

Please donate. See Homepage for link and instructions. Thank you.


Mission Statement, Partnerships and Collaborations...

Alternative Chance/Chans Altenativ Mission Statement (1996)

Based in Haiti, Alternative Chance is a self-help peer counseling program founded in 1996 by Michelle Karshan together with criminal deportees. The program advocates on their behalf prior to deportation, while incarcerated upon their arrival in Haiti, and during their integration into Haitian society. Alternative Chance challenges the injustices of US immigration policies and assists immigration attorneys in fighting against deportation. Current services include an orientation manual for adjusting to Haiti, emergency services, job counseling and some sponsorship in job training, wrongful deportation screening, an English lending library, peer counseling and referrals to services, alternatives to violence workshops, family mediation and counseling, and a public education campaign. Alternative Chance works in partnership with Health Through Walls providing limited healthcare in Haiti's National Penitentiary.

Background. Every year hundreds of Haitians are deported to Haiti due to criminal convictions in the U.S. or Canada, and after having finished serving their sentences. In 1996 the U.S. passed an anti-terrorist act which dramatically increased these deportations. Many of these young men and women grew up in the U.S. as legal residents but because they never became U.S. citizens they were deportable. Their convictions range from misdemeanors to felonies, are first-time offenders or repeat offenders, the majority relating to street-level drug sales.

Additionally, thousands of Haitian parents in the U.S., through fear or lack of access to services, are sending their troubled teenagers to live in Haiti with family or friends. While some of these teens straighten out while in Haiti, others are unable to adjust and their problems are compounded by isolation and poverty. These two groups -- the criminal deportees and the "throwbacks" quickly befriend each other as they usually have the same urban background.

Many of these young adults don't know Haiti's history and culture. Most don't know French and some barely speak Creole. They are discriminated against in Haiti and face enormous obstacles integrating into its society. Alternative Chance believes that the majority of criminal deportees in Haiti want to upgrade their lives through schooling, job training, counseling, and the support of a caring community.

As the pioneering project in the Americas, we seek to reduce crime, violence, substance abuse, and gang-related behaviors. We help integrate, educate, empower, inspire and give hope in a way that will ultimately lead to self-sufficiency.

Through our public education campaign we seek to educate communities, governments, human rights and social service agencies in an effort to shape more humane policies.

Partnerships and collaborations

Alternative Chance works in collaboration with 

In alphabetical order:

African Caribbean Unity Club in NYS prisons  

Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) 

Americans for Immigrant Justice, formerly the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center (FIAC)

APAAC (Haiti-based substance abuse program)

Boston College Post-Deportation Human Rights Project (Michelle Karshan (Alternative Chance) sits on its Advisory Board) 

Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR)

Haiti Advocacy Working Group (member)

Haiti Justice Alliance of Northfield

Hastings College of the Law, University of California  

Health through Walls, Inc. 

Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH)

New York State Defenders Association 

Office of Citizen Protection in Haiti

University of Miami Law School

Michelle Karshan served as Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law School  clinic (Academic Year: 2008-2009)

Text-only version of this page  |  Edit this page  |  Manage website  |  Website design: 2-minute-website.com