How can the state protect us from harms that haven’t happened yet? It may be clear that a terrorist or sex offender, for instance, intends to cause harm long before he has actually committed acts of violence. We could try to convict him in criminal court, but by definition, he hasn’t yet caused the harm we’re worried about. So how can we blame and punishment him? We could also try civil law, but civil suits come with a lower burden of proof that doesn’t seem quite right when we consider taking away a person’s liberty.
Our guest today, Kim Ferzan, thinks the answer is to create a third category, preventive justice, that can be used to legally impose restrictions on people who intend to cause harm.