Unclear fates behind bars
Millions of people around the world are held in prison pending trial or on remand, report finds. They often face worse detention conditions than sentenced prisoners.
Pre-trial detention is meant to be exceptional and used as a last resort. However, at least three million prisoners around the world 1 are held in pre-trial and remand, roughly one-fourth of the total prison population. And the numbers are growing. Some remand prisoners await their uncertain fate for several months or years.
Catherine Heard directs the world prison research programme at the Institute for Crime & Justice Policy Research (ICPR), Birkbeck, University of London 2. The Institute recently published its 4th edition of official figures on pre-trial and remand prisoners. Another qualitative report, written in collaboration with Helen Fair, discusses the overuse of pre-trial detention in 10 countries. Prison Insider asked her three questions.
The total number is likely to be more than three million, considering figures hidden or omitted from official records in nine countries. ↩
The ICPR hosts and updates the World Prison Brief database of imprisonment figures at the world level. They also publish qualitative studies to better examine details emerging from this numerical data. ↩