Country Studies: The Socioeconomic Impact of Pretrial Detention

23 May 2013
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Excessive and arbitrary pretrial detention is an overlooked form of human rights abuse that affects millions of persons each year, causing and deepening poverty, stunting economic development, spreading disease, and undermining the rule of law. Pretrial detainees may lose their jobs and homes; contract and spread disease; be asked to pay bribes to secure release or better conditions of detention; and suffer physical and psychological damage that last long after their detention ends.

 

Almost half Africa’s prison population consists of people held in pretrial detention, awaiting a trial that may take months or years to materialize. For the first time, a series of reports – produced by the Global Campaign for Pretrial Justice (an Open Society Justice Initiative), in collaboration with UNDP and civil society organizations in three West African countries – has captured demographic information of randomly surveyed adult pretrial detainees in Ghana, Guinea Conakry and Sierra Leone. The results quantify the pernicious and wide-ranging effects of excessive pretrial detention and show how severely pretrial detention damages the socioeconomic development of detainees, their families, and communities.

 

This series currently includes three reports:

 

The Socioeconomic Impact of Pretrial Detention in Ghana

This report, produced by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative in Ghana, in collaboration with the Global Campaign for Pretrial Justice and UNDP, is based on the surveys conducted in 2011 of 45 adult pretrial detainees in Kumasi prison, located in Ghana’s second largest city.

 

The Socioeconomic Impact of Pretrial Detention in Guinea Conakry

This report, produced by three Guinean NGOs – Mêmes Droits pour Tous Guinée, Avocats Sans Frontières Guinée and Sabou Guinée – in collaboration with the Global Campaign for Pretrial Justice and UNDP, is based on the surveys conducted in 2011 of 105 adult pretrial detainees in two prisons, one in the capital city of Conakry and one in the provinces.

 

The Socioeconomic Impact of Pretrial Detention in Sierra Leone

This report, produced by two Sierra Leonean NGOs - Prison Watch Sierra Leone and Timap for Justice – in collaboration with the Global Campaign for Pretrial Justice and UNDP, is based on the surveys conducted in 2011 of 128 adult pretrial detainees, in three prisons, one in the capital Freetown, and two in the provinces.

 

Country studies on Kenya, Mozambique and Zambia will be published later this year.

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