The Socioeconomic Impact of Pre-trial Detention
Approximately 10 million people per year pass through pretrial detention; many of them will spend months or even years behind bars—without being tried or found guilty. The socioeconomic impact of this practice is staggering. Locking away millions of people who are presumed innocent is a violation of international norms and a waste of human potential that undermines development.
The costs of excessive pretrial detention are paid not only by the detainees, but also by their families, communities, and states. Pretrial detainees may lose their jobs, be forced to sell their possessions, and be evicted from their homes. Their families suffer from lost income and forfeited opportunities, including a multi-generational effect in which detainees' children suffer lower lifetime income. And the ripple effect does not stop there: the overuse of pretrial detention thwarts economic development, wastes state resources, and limits policy options.
This groundbreaking study attempts for the first time to count the full cost of excessive pretrial detention, including lost employment, stunted economic growth, the spread of disease and corruption, and the misuse of state resources. Combining statistics, personal accounts, and recommendations for reform, The Socioeconomic Impact of Pretrial Detention should be of interest to anyone concerned with poverty, human rights, and development.
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