Arbitrary Arrest & Detention
In many communities in the developing world, the police can detain suspects in jail with virtually no evidence. In these circumstances, it is easy for officers to frame poor people who may have limited formal education in order to conclude investigations quickly. Poor people can be imprisoned on the basis of a mere accusation, simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, or even for being unable to pay a bribe to a corrupt officer.
Without an advocate, victims of false imprisonment can waste away in jail for years of their life—in fact, experts have identified cases in which Kenyan prisoners have been detained up to 17 years before receiving a trial. 3 Court proceedings are often held in official languages—a language the falsely accused person may not speak or understand—and translators are not provided.
For a family struggling in poverty, imprisonment of an innocent breadwinner means that necessities like food, education, shelter, clothing and medicine can slip out of reach. They may be forced to relocate to even more insecure housing, or take their children out of school to work, all because they cannot afford the fees. Most families cannot afford to even visit their loved ones in prison.
In many places in the world, “torture remains a routine part of police work to extract confessions or other information from suspects who refuse to ‘cooperate.’” 4
With insufficient training on professional methods of investigation and virtually no accountability for bad police, corrupt officers can physically and sexually assault those they are meant to protect. The terrifying result is that billions of the poorest people live in communities in which the police not only fail to protect them from violent predators, but where the police themselves become violent predators.