Prevent Watch

The Rise and Restraint of the Preventive State

The rise of the preventive state assumes an intensification of security as a core function of the modern state.

This journal article, published in January 2019 in the Annual Review of Criminology, and authored by Lucia Zedner and Andrew Ashworth at the University of Oxford’s Faculty of Law, argues that “as threats to security and demands for public protection increase, states have been prompted to prioritise new practices of preventive criminalization, policing, and punishment”.

But the costs of ever more coercive preventive laws and measures are burdensome and pose a threat to civil liberties.

This review considers the drivers, multiple manifestations, and direct and collateral consequences of preventive endeavours such as the Prevent strategy. It also explores their ramifications for criminology and criminal justice.

The article concludes by considering “the potential of criminology to join cross-disciplinary efforts to articulate a new jurisprudence of security”, as well as to “elaborate principles of preventive justice with which to restrain the excesses of the preventive state”.

The full journal article is available for download here.

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Picture by Clay Banks on Unsplash.

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