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Preventive detention

Preventive detention is an imprisonment that is putatively justified for non-punitive purposes.

A related, but different form of detention, is detention of suspects or remand. In contrast to preventive detention, detention of suspects must quickly be followed by a criminal charge (or happen after the charge).

In most jurisdictions, people suffering from serious mental illness may be subject to involuntary commitment under mental health legislation. This is undertaken on health grounds or in order to protect the person or others. It does not strictly speaking constitute a form of preventive detention, because the person is detained for treatment and released once this has proven effective.

Australian laws authorize preventive detention in a variety of circumstances. For example, mandatory detention in Australia (a form of immigration detention) is applied to asylum seekers who arrive in Australian water or territory, until their status as an asylum seeker is established.

In Canada, anyone declared a dangerous offender by the courts is subject to an indefinite period of detention

In Costa Rica, the 1998 Criminal Proceedings Code allows for a normal pre-trial "prisión preventiva" or remand of 12 months if the person is considered a "flight risk", but if the case is declared "complex", it can be increased to up to three years and a half of imprisonment without conviction, or even more in some cases. As of 23 May 2013, over 3,000 people were in pre-trial detention.

The police can detain people for 6 hours without involving the courts or pay compensation for wrongful arrest. In relation to the ongoing gang war in Copenhagen between the biker gangs and second generation youth gangs it has been suggested to extend the 6 hour limit to several weeks. Before the Copenhagen Climate Council a new set of emergency laws was introduced allowing the police to detain people for up to 12 hours without charging them for a crime. Critics fear that they will remain as permanent laws when the summit is over.



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