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Excessive and Arbitrary

Every year nearly 15 million people around the world end up in prison cells and detention centers awaiting trial. Many will spend months or even years behind bars, without ever seeing a judge.

We support programs that enable those who pose no threat to be released while awaiting trial. We are backing expanded legal aid services to provide the poor with proper access to lawyers. And we are documenting the costs of the excessive use of pretrial detention—not only for individuals, families, and communities, but for criminal justice systems as a whole.

Pretrial Justice

Open Society Voices

Clearing a Path to Justice in Nigeria

September 29, 2014 | by Chuck Leung

In Nigeria, nearly 70 percent of prisoners have not been convicted; detainees spend an average of over three years awaiting trial. A photographer investigates this vast waste of human life.

Justice Denied

September 12, 2014 | by Martin Schoenteich

Each year some 15 million people around the world spend time locked up in prison cells and detention centers while they await trial.

Why the Overuse of Pretrial Detention Is an Overlooked Human Rights Crisis

September 12, 2014 | by Martin Schoenteich | 8 comments

Every year, millions find themselves behind bars, awaiting trial on criminal charges—victims of what is perhaps the most overlooked human rights crisis of our time: the overuse of pretrial detention.