Report of the Secretary-General, Human rights in the administration of justice, 27 September 2016, A/71/405

  1. So-called “zero tolerance policies” and “tough-on-crime” approaches adopted in many States have led to a high increase in the number of arrests,5 even for minor offences,6 and to people being held in custody for long periods (see A/HRC/19/57/Add.2, para. 38). In addition, some practices, such as overly broad legislation and regulations (see CCPR/C/HND/CO/1, para. 13) and rewards to police for arrests (see CAT/OP/MEX/1, para. 182), have been reported to lead to arbitrary arrests. Such practices have significantly contributed to overincarceration and overcrowding.


  1. The excessive recourse to incarceration and the resulting overcrowding of places of detention remain a main, and concerning, human rights challenge in the administration of justice. (…) right of detainees to challenge detention is fully respected, using pretrial detention only as a last resort, developing and implementing, including by legislative measures, alternatives to custodial measures, during pretrial and post-conviction and reviewing criminal policies and legislation to ensure proportionate sentencing.

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