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A Report on the Overuse of Pretrial Detention

Presumption of Guilt: The Global Overuse of Pretrial Detention (October 15, 2014)

The arbitrary and excessive use of pretrial detention is a massive and widely ignored pattern of human rights abuse that affects—by a conservative estimate—15 million people a year. The right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty is universal, but at this moment some 3.3 million people are behind bars waiting for a trial that may be months or even years away. No right is so broadly accepted in theory but so commonly violated in practice. The global overuse of pretrial detention is among the most overlooked human rights crises of our time.

At a recent event, Martin Schoenteich presented his Open Society Justice Initiative report Presumption of Guilt: The Global Overuse of Pretrial Detention. It is the first-ever global survey of the damage done by the excessive use of pretrial detention. The report examines the myriad causes and consequences of the overuse of pretrial detention. Combining statistical analysis, first-person accounts, graphics, and case studies of successful reforms, the report is the first to comprehensively document this widespread but frequently ignored form of human rights abuse.

Hear Schoenteich’s presentation above.

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