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Preventive Detention and the Democratic State
  • Cited by 2
  • Hallie Ludsin, Research Director, South Asia Human Rights Documentation Centre, New Delhi
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Book description

Preventive Detention and the Democratic State tracks the transformation of preventive detention from an emergency measure into an ordinary law enforcement tool in the democratic world. Historically, democracies used preventive detention only in the extraordinary circumstance in which the criminal justice system was impotent. They preferred criminal prosecution and its strict due process requirements to detaining people for a crime they may never commit. This book shows that major democracies have begun using detention as an insurance policy against dangerous people. In the process, they have embarked on a slippery slope that allows them to use preventive detention to bypass the criminal justice system. Already, detention has established a separate, inferior legal system for certain suspected criminals. Comparing preventive detention in India, England and the United States, the book brings to light its potentially dire consequences for the rule of law, due process rights and democratic principles based on the very real experiences of these countries.


‘Hallie Ludsin's timely book compellingly and convincingly addresses issues germane to complicated and complex challenges confronting decision makers and the general public alike. The book will make an invaluable contribution to our efforts to address questions of security and individual rights and the requirement to balance the two. I warmly welcome the book and applaud Ludsin's undertaking of this most important achievement.'

Amos Guiora - University of Utah

‘Hallie Ludsin's Preventive Detention and the Democratic State brings the critically important international and comparative perspective to one of the basic threats to liberty in twenty-first-century liberal democracies. Ludsin describes the traditional bulwark against arbitrary power and tyranny, strict due process in the criminal justice system. Growing risk aversion underlies ‘pre-crime' detention schemes in both the US and the UK. Ludsin shows that the ubiquity and durability of preventive detention in India undercuts the reassurances of western policy makers that breaches in the web of due process can be safely confined to small groups of ‘deviant others'.'

Eric Janus - William Mitchell College of Law, Minnesota

‘The framework and the content outline are comprehensive and the book promises to be a close look at the preventive detention laws in different democratic states from a human rights perspective. A book such as this would not only be a welcome addition to the existing literature but also add to the debate and discussion especially since the state of exception argument seems to be dominating the discourse. This book thus has a refreshing stand and argues against such normalisation of the exception with conviction and academic rigor.'

Monica Sakhrani - Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai

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