Vinicius was a teenager was he was arrested for a robbery on the streets of Rio de Janeiro. Just hours after his arrest he was dead. His mother, Indaià, was told by the police that her son had fallen ill. The marks on his body told a different story.
After killing a man in self-defense, Benson turned himself in to Malawi’s police. More than two years later, he was still waiting for a court hearing, while his body showed the scars from the long wait in Lilongwe’s main prison.
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.
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.