Approximately 10 million people per year pass through pretrial detention; many of them will spend months or even years behind bars—without being tried or found guilty. Locking away millions of people who are presumed innocent is a waste of human potential that undermines economic development.
The economic effects of excessive pretrial detention—from lost wages to misspent government resources—are documented in a new report, The Socioeconomic Impact of Pretrial Detention, published by the Open Society Justice Initiative and the United Nations Development Program.
This study attempts for the first time to count the full cost of excessive pretrial detention, including lost employment, stunted economic growth, the spread of disease and corruption, and the misuse of state resources. Combining statistics, personal accounts, and recommendations for reform, The Socioeconomic Impact of Pretrial Detention provides empirical arguments against the overuse of pretrial detention.