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Book review: preventive justice

Lacey, Nicola (2015) Book review: preventive justice. British Journal of Criminology, online. pp. 1-3. ISSN 0007-0955

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Identification Number: 10.1093/bjc/azv015


Preventive Justice. By Andrew Ashworth and Lucia Zedner (Oxford University Press, 2014, 306pp. 50.00) In a world in which criminal law and criminal justice appear to be driven to an ever greater extent by concerns with security, the expedient of preventive justice has assumed a new and, to many, worrying salience in the policy repertoire of the United Kingdom and a number of other western democracies. Preventive criminalization is, of course, not a new phenomenon: inchoate offences; offences of possession and the binding over power attendant on an anticipated breach of the peace are long-standing examples of the preventive impulse in English criminal law. But this preventive turn appears to have taken on a new intensity in the last two decades. Among the many scholars who have turned their attention to this phenomenon, Andrew Ashworth and Lucia Zedner are probably the most influential. In particular, their analysis of no fewer than nine families of preventive measures, many of them combining civil and criminal modes of enforcement in what have been widely regarded as troubling ways, has quite rightly attracted widespread attention.1 Their monograph has accordingly been awaited eagerly; and it does not disappoint. Conceptually elegant, beautifully written, it not only maps out the contours of this emerging field of criminalization but also sets the recent developments within a much-needed historical context. Setting out from a careful conceptualization of preventive justice and its relationship to the ‘preventive state’, the book goes on to trace its historical evolution, before presenting a meticulous account and analysis of a range of preventive measures in contemporary criminal law and criminal justice (particularly in the field of counterterrorism), in public health law and in immigration law. It also sets out some of the issues, both empirical and normative, which are raised by the practices of risk assessment, which typically go hand in hand with the implementation of …

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2015 The Author
Divisions: Gender Studies
Social Policy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
K Law > K Law (General)
Date Deposited: 23 Apr 2015 11:06
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2023 15:11

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