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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

In the EU, One in Five People in Prison Haven’t Yet Been Found Guilty of Any Crime

September 23, 2016 | Alex Mik

Why are courts using pretrial detention as a first resort rather than a last one?

New Guidelines Seek to Humanize Africa’s Justice Systems

April 25, 2016 | 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 | Marina Ilminska, Martin Schoenteich | 1 comment

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.