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Columbia Law School

Law Enforcement and Corrections

Racial profiling

2012

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Punitive Preventive Justice: A Critique, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2012

Punitive Preventive Justice: A Critique, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

This book chapter critically examines punitive preventive measures, such as preventive detention for dangerous individuals, stop-and-frisks on the street, and order-maintenance policing. After reviewing the traditional concern expressed about punitive preventive practices, the chapter investigates the empirical evidence in support of such measures, concluding that the purported need for these measures is, on balance, factually overstated and generally unproven. But the empirical problems foreground a deeper theoretical difficulty with punitive preventive justice, namely that the modern approach to punitive prevention relies predominantly on economic cost-benefit analytic methods that effectively displace political debate and contestation. Like earlier punitive preventive interventions – such ...