preventive detention

1. the holding of someone in jail or in an institution because he or she is regarded as a danger to the community.
2. Eng. Law. imprisonment of habitual criminals for periods ranging from 5 to 14 years during which they are given corrective training or placed under psychiatric and medical care.
[1905-10]

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law
      the practice of incarcerating accused individuals before trial on the assumption that their release would not be in the best interest of society—specifically, that they would be likely to commit additional crimes if they were released. Preventive detention is also used when the release of the accused is felt to be detrimental to the state's ability to carry out its investigation. In some countries the practice has been attacked as a denial of certain fundamental rights of the accused.

      The procedure has been used primarily in civil-law countries, in some of which, particularly France and Belgium, the rights of individuals detained before trial were more carefully protected. In 1970 in France the practice was placed exclusively in the hands of the courts. In Belgium a review of every individual detained in this manner must be held monthly to determine if his release would still constitute a threat to society.

      Preventive detention is used to a considerable extent in countries ruled by dictators. It was also found in the Soviet Union (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics), particularly in cases in which the accused individuals were perceived as political or security threats to the government. In such countries, where there was often little concern for the protection of individual rights, preventive detention was left almost exclusively in the hands of police and prosecuting authorities. Where there is greater concern for individual rights, the courts have been given control; but critics maintain that the practice in any form does not lend itself to vigorous and continuous protection of individual rights.

      Court-supervised preventive detention was adopted in 1970 in the United States by the federal government for the District of Columbia over much protest that the measure constituted imprisonment without due process and amounted to the curtailment of rights only because of behaviour that might occur. The procedure has been used sparingly, and its constitutionality has not been fully adjudicated in the courts. See also accused, rights of; due process.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Preventive detention — concerns imprisonment either without justification (the prisoner is not told the grounds for the arrest) or waiting for trial. In most democracies, no one can be arrested without being told the grounds for such an arrest, except under rare and… …   Wikipedia

  • preventive detention — pre·ven·tive detention /pri ven tiv / n: detention of a defendant awaiting trial for the purpose of preventing further misconduct or protecting an individual or the public Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996. preventive …   Law dictionary

  • preventive detention — Confinement imposed generally on a defendant in criminal case who has threatened to escape or otherwise violate the law while awaiting trial or disposition, or of a mentally ill person who may harm himself or others. See e.g. 18 U.S.C.A. No. 3142 …   Black's law dictionary

  • preventive detention — pre.ventive de tention n [U] BrE law a system in which people who are guilty of many crimes are kept in prison for a long time …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • preventive detention — pre,ventive de tention noun uncount BRITISH LEGAL a situation in which someone is kept in prison in order to prevent them from committing more crimes, rather than as a punishment …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • preventive detention —    arbitrary imprisonment    Literally, a long sentence for a dangerous or hardened criminal. In a totalitarian state the phrase describes the incarceration of critics, without process of law …   How not to say what you mean: A dictionary of euphemisms

  • preventive detention — noun (U) BrE law a system in which people who are guilty of many crimes are kept in prison for a long time …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • preventive detention — UK / US noun [uncountable] legal British a situation in which someone is kept in prison in order to prevent them from committing more crimes, rather than as a punishment …   English dictionary

  • preventive detention — I. noun English law : a sentence passed on a persistent offender under the Criminal Justice Act of 1948 in order to protect the public and to administer medical or psychiatric treatment or corrective training to the offender II. noun :… …   Useful english dictionary

  • detention — de·ten·tion n 1: the act or fact of detaining or holding back; esp: a holding in custody 2: the state of being detained; esp: a period of temporary custody prior to a trial or hearing see also preventive detention Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of… …   Law dictionary

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