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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 75787 Find in a Library
Title: On Incapacitating the Dangerous (From Sentencing, P 175-185, 1981, Hyman Gross and Andrew von Hirsch, ed. - See NCJ 75784)
Author(s): F D Schoeman
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 12
Sponsoring Agency: Oxford University Press, Inc
Fair Lawn, NJ 07410
Sale Source: Oxford University Press, Inc
1600 Pollitt Drive
Fair Lawn, NJ 07410
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Following a presentation of arguments for and against civil preventive detention, this paper identifies conditions under which this practice might be considered legitimate and discusses implications for individual rights and the detaining power of the criminal justice system.
Abstract: Critics of civil preventive detention question the system's ability to predict dangerous behavior, vagueness in standards for dangerousness, and the inadequacy of procedural safeguards for those detained. Overall, civil preventive detention diminishes the privacy and sense of worth of the individual not found guilty of any crime. Leaving questions of legality and procedures aside, developing a standard that would prove valid in determining the degree to which individuals represent a threat to society would offer a key to the civil preventive detention question. Detainees could then be frequently reassessed to determine whether they continued to represent a threat and could be released when they no longer posed one. Because the process would be civil, rather than criminal, in nature, detainees would avoid the stigma attached to criminal detention. The procedure could then be used with individuals such as those considered criminally insane to prevent social damage between arrest and trial. It could also be used during emergencies. The process would be analogous to the practice of quarantine as a measure for protecting public health, and presents the same issues regarding the notion of autonomous moral being as does quarantine. Realization of the similarities between quarantine and civil preventive detention does not imply advocacy of such detention, however, given the current practical and legal problems preventing adoption of the practice. Reference notes and about 80 suggested readings are provided.
Index Term(s): Civil commitment; Criminality prediction; Dangerousness; Preventive detention
Note: Reprinted from American Philosophical Quarterly, V 16, N 1 (January 1979), P 27-35.
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