Protective Custody

Definition - What does Protective Custody mean?

Protective custody is a state of being incarcerated to be kept safe rather than as a result of doing something wrong.

People who go into protective custody include witnesses in a court case and a person who is the subject of abuse. The place of custody does not necessarily have to be a jail: for witnesses, the likely location of protective custody is either a hotel or a safe house; for victims of domestic violence, the place of protective custody is usually a domestic violence shelter.

Justipedia explains Protective Custody

When a court case is underway and the prosecution wants to call a witness to the stand, they have a duty of care to ensure that the witness is safe. This might extend to witness relocation in a witness protection program.

Protective custody is not a punishment and is done to help a person through a temporary situation. However, it can also happen during the process of a jail sentence. For example, a person who is in jail and whose safety is being threatened by other prisoners might be moved to a different part of the jail in order to keep the vulnerable inmate away from harm.

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