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Law Enforcement and Corrections

Preventive detention

Columbia Law School

2011

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Preventive Detention In American Theory And Practice, Adam Klein, Benjamin Wittes Jan 2011

Preventive Detention In American Theory And Practice, Adam Klein, Benjamin Wittes

National Security Law Program

It is something of an article of faith in public and academic discourse that preventive detention runs counter to American values and law. This meme has become standard fare among human rights groups and in a great deal of legal scholarship. It treats the past nine years of extra-criminal detention of terrorism suspects as an extraordinary aberration from a strong American constitutional norm, under which government locks up citizens pursuant only to criminal punishment, not because of mere fear of their future acts. This argument further asserts that any statutory counterterrorism administrative detention regime would be a radical departure from …