Preventive Detention Beyond the Law: The Need to Ask Socio-Political Questions
Loughnan, Arlie and Sabine Selchow (2013) ‘Preventive Detention Beyond the Law: The Need to Ask Socio-Political Questions’, in Keyzer, Patrick (ed.) Preventive Detention: Asking the Fundamental Questions, Intersentia, 2013.
The proliferation of preventive detention regimes over recent decades demands ever-vigilant attention. Although preventive detention is typically understood via its legal profile – according to which it is measured in terms of procedural fairness, fidelity to legal principles and against human rights norms – or in relation to its effectiveness, the significance of preventive detention stretches beyond its identity as a particular set of practices located within the legal realm. Given its three main ingredients – the logic of ‘prevention’, the technology of ‘risk’ and the practice of ‘security’ – preventive detention is both implicated in and implicates large socio-political concerns relating to the very constitution of society. Consequently, policy debates must go beyond traditional legal concerns and concern with effectiveness, to ask what preventive detention does to society. This larger question represents an essential but oft neglected aspect of any legislative proposals regarding preventive detention. The aim of this paper is to invite policy makers to appreciate the complexity of preventive detention – in its socio-political as well as legal nature – in order that such an appreciation might inform debate about and development of policy into the future.