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Pretrial Justice Reform

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A majority of human rights abuses occur during pretrial detention. Through our early access programs and diversion practices, we seek to reduce pretrial detention whenever possible and ensure that people in detention have the protections and dignity they deserve.

In many countries, a person accused of a crime who cannot afford a lawyer will often not see a legal aid attorney until the day of trial-- if they get counsel at all. Yet pretrial is when legal services are most essential. 


The services of a lawyer protect people in detention against torture, coercion, and mistreatment. And unless a lawyer is on hand to document these abuses when they do occur, people have no way to challenge violations of their rights.

Access to a lawyer at the earliest possible moment after arrest also ensures defense lawyers have time to investigate the accusations against their client and prepare a quality case. Well-trained lawyers who are brought in early can even help prevent costly trials and pretrial detention altogether through the appropriate use of mediation and diversion.


We’ve pioneered an “early access” model that works in both common law and civil law countries to get lawyers to those in need at the earliest possible moment. We train and empower lawyers with the tools they need to identify, stop, and seek justice for rights violations committed against people in the pretrial period.

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