Preventive incarceration has had a range of meanings. It could refer to the pretrial imprisonment, without the right to bail, of a person accused of a serious crime usually because a judge determines that the person is dangerous to society. It could refer to civil proceedings to commit a person to state custody based on mental illness, again because the individual is a threat to herself or others. Its purpose is not supposed to be punishment, but rather isolation from society. Although preventive incarceration or detention statutes date from about 1900, for instance in India and the United States, their use has more recently been discussed in the context of terrorist threats based on intelligence gathering.

A specific example of this type of incarceration, at ...

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