Presumption of Guilt: The Global Overuse of Pretrial Detention
Around the world, millions are effectively punished before they are tried. Legally entitled to be considered innocent and released pending trial, many accused are instead held in pretrial detention, where they are subjected to torture, exposed to life threatening disease, victimized by violence, and pressured for bribes. It is literally worse than being convicted: pretrial detainees routinely experience worse conditions than sentenced prisoners. The suicide rate among pretrial detainees is three times higher than among convicted prisoners, and ten times that of the outside community. Pretrial detention harms individuals, families, and communities; wastes state resources and human potential; and undermines the rule of law.
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. It is fair to say that the global overuse of pretrial detention is the most overlooked human rights crisis of our time.
Presumption of Guilt examines the full consequences of the global 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.
European Court of Human Rights Finds Russia Responsible for Death of Whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky
The European Court of Human Rights today delivered a comprehensive rebuke to Russia over the 2009 death in pretrial detention of Sergei Magnitsky, the accountant who had previously exposed a $230m tax fraud involving officials of Russia’s powerful Interior Ministry.
Strengthening Pretrial Justice: A Guide to the Effective Use of Indicators
This guide proposes a methodical approach toward developing and deploying empirically based indicators to identify exemplary and problematic pretrial practices.
Pretrial Detention of Juveniles: As Common as It Is Wrong
The extended pretrial detention of juveniles should be a seldom-used measure of last resort, not the sadly common practice it is today.