The Ethics and Dilemmas of Preventive Detention
There has been a considerable increase in the use of preventive sentencing in New Zealand since the mid-1980s. It has become widely accepted across Western society that preventive sentencing and supervision regimes are needed to protect the public from dangerous offenders. This thesis examines whether the development and use of preventive sentencing regimes is ethically justified, and if not what changes need to be made in order to alleviate some of the ethical dilemmas associated with indeterminate sentencing regimes. Preventive detention practices in Australia the UK and the US are reviewed to establish general practice regarding the development of legislation, use of risk assessment and the detention of dangerous offenders. This is compared to New Zealand practices, through research and analysis of three preventive detainee case files. The files confirm that the ethics of preventive detention has shifted from protecting the rights of individual offenders to protecting the public from them.