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Risk, pre-emption, and the limits of the criminal law.

Child, John
June 4, 2015

Source: (2010) In, Katherine Doolin, et. al, eds., Whose criminal justice? State or community?. Hook, Hampshire: Waterside Press. Pp. 51-68.

At the core of state driven approaches to criminal justice is the concept of criminalisation. Formally speaking,the initial stage of criminalisation involves the identification of behaviour thought serious or dangerous enough to merit criminal punishment. However the mere identification of such behaviour is not sufficient to criminalise the behaviour. Rather the behaviour must be defined in legislation as a criminal offence. This chapter is concerned with a number of key trends and issues associated with the process of identifying behaviour thought worthy of criminalisation, as well as the process of definition of such behaviour as a criminal offence. Our particular focus is the use of the process of criminalisation as a tool for pre-empting harm, and therefore punishing those whose behaviour creates the risk that harm may result from their actions. (excerpt)


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