On any given day, some three million people are held in pretrial detention around the world. Countless millions are unnecessarily arrested and detained by law enforcement agencies annually. Those in pretrial detention are often held in conditions and subject to treatment that is far worse than that experienced by sentenced prisoners. Pretrial detainees—who have not been tried or found guilty—can languish behind bars for years. Some detainees may literally be lost in the system.
Lawyers and paralegals have a central role to play in advising, assisting, and representing individuals at the pretrial stage of the criminal process.
This paper looks at the role of lawyers and paralegals in the pre-trial process and provides recommendations for governments and for legal aid organisations.