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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.

Access to Pretrial Justice

Open Society Voices

New Guidelines Seek to Humanize Africa’s Justice Systems

April 25, 2016 | by Stanley Ibe

A push to reform pretrial detention standards in Africa could change not only policies and practices, but attitudes as well.

Raising the Profile of Pretrial Detention in Africa

April 21, 2016 | by Marina Ilminska, Martin Schoenteich

Many of the continent’s prison systems are in a state of crisis, burdened with overcrowding and an inability or unwillingness to protect the human rights of prisoners.

Pretrial Detention of Juveniles: As Common as It Is Wrong

September 1, 2015 | by Marina Ilminska | 1 comment

The extended pretrial detention of juveniles should be a seldom-used measure of last resort, not the sadly common practice it is today.