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. Many will end up spending months or even years behind bars without ever seeing a judge.
Vinthenga was arrested after a fight on the street and sent to Malawi’s Maula prison. What happened to him shows the costs of being thrown into the limbo of indefinite pretrial detention—not just for the person held, but for their whole family.
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.