Preventive detention is the concept of detaining someone who has not committed any crime under the presumption that they might do so in the future.
The cases in which preventive detention is commonly considered justified are those of people with diminished responsibility, judgment, or cognitive capacity. For example, if someone was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, had dementia, was having an acute psychotic episode, or was suicidal, temporary preventive detention would prevent harm to that person or others in a humane fashion. Similarly, a young child might be temporarily detained for his or her own safety.
In the case of an adult of sound mind, preventive detention is far more problematic. Essentially, it would involve depriving someone who has committed no actual crimes of their liberty. The most contentious example is pre-trial detention. Since people are presumed innocent until proven guilty in the United States legal system, those awaiting trial are, by legal definition,...
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