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Few events are as traumatic as arrival in prison. In an instant, the individual is stripped of everything that defines him or her and plunged into a world where he or she has no control over anything. For many, the first steps in the prison environment are a period of great vulnerability. And for a large proportion of detainees – more than one in five in Europe in 2021 – these first steps are taken in pre-trial detention.
Pre-trial detention was originally intended as an exceptional and temporary measure, yet its use has nevertheless increased in recent years in Europe, due to a relatively vague legal framework, the slowness of the judicial systems and a hardening of the security discourse – particularly in public opinion. But the decision to detain an individual on remand should not be taken lightly.
EDJNet gathered extensive data and multiple testimonies from all Europe in order to shed some light on this poorly-documented, often forgotten social phenomenon.