Every year some 10 million people around the world spend time locked up in prison cells and detention centers while they await a court appearance. In many countries this is the time when detainees are most vulnerable to torture, violence and abuse.
In Rio de Janeiro’s notorious police detention centers—the Polinter—detainees describe routine beatings and extortion at the hands of the police. Health care, food, and living space all come at a price. Even visits from relatives are impossible without a bribe.
The Open Society Justice Initiative is spearheading a Global Campaign for Pretrial Justice. We are documenting the costs of excessive and unnecessary pretrial detention. We are helping governments develop bail and supervision systems that can make pretrial detention an exception, and not the rule.