Alternatives to Pre-trial Detention

Reducing the proportion of pre-trial detainees is in large part a question of improving the functioning of the criminal justice process.
Introducing and enforcing time limits, providing legal aid or access to paralegals, introducing bail and other alternatives, and reforming outdated criminal procedure all play a part.

There are important ways in which prisons themselves can work to reduce pre-trial detention – for example by hosting Camp Courts in which magistrates hold hearings inside the jail (India, Malawi), ensuring there is effective file management augmented by regular censuses, otherwise engaging in inter-agency initiatives to clear backlogs of cases and encouraging visits from the judiciary and other prison visitor bodies

Other measures may be taken by the police for certain types of offences, such as a formal caution and diversion from the criminal justice system or by other agencies during police detention, for example ensuring there is a duty solicitor available.Bail conditions need to be appropriate, reasonable and well understood. Many awaiting trial are eligible for bail but simply not able to provide the sureties required