A serious global problem
Every year nearly 15 million people around the world end up in prison cells awaiting their trial without seeing a lawyer or judge. Many will spend months or even years behind bars in pre-trial detention. A great injustice that is perhaps captured best by the words of Dr. Martin Luther King in his Letter from Birmingham Jail: “Justice too long delayed is justice denied”.
Particularly the poor are affected by pre-trial detention. Many inmates have little or no access to legal counsel, or their counsel is inactive or poor in quality. Moreover they do not understand the language and the strict formalities the court uses and lack resources to pay for assistance.
Nigeria ranks high in international numbers of pre-trial detention (rank 14 in 2017) and occupancy levels in prisons (rank 65 in 2017).
The project touches on an urgent global problem, as (prolonged) pre-trial detention violates basic human rights. Besides pre-trial detention has severe negative effects on inmates, their families but also on society at large. When the justice system fails, civil society is under attack.