Dirk van Zyl Smit

Policy and Research Papers

Pretrial Detention and Health: Unintended Consequences, Deadly Results

A Literature Review and Recommendations for Health Professionals.

This paper reports on a review of published and grey literature on health condi- tions and health services in pretrial detention in developing and transitional countries. This paper takes as its point of departure that the negative health impacts of excessive pretrial detention are an important reason to pursue pretrial justice reform. Problems identified in the literature are linked both to inadequate health services and to the health impact of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of detainees and failure of the state to ensure humane living conditions and protection from violence. Together these con- stitute pervasive and often heinous human rights abuses among people, not convicted of any crime, who are entirely in the control of the state.