Gestapo's Preventative Detention alive in Britain

Petty criminals
are increasingly being given life sentences not for crimes they have committed,
but to protect the public from their possible future behaviour. Soon our
prisons will hold more people in such preventive detention than murderers.

That’s what the
Gestapo did.

Almost unnoticed,
a fundamental change in penal policy is gathering pace. The main factor in the
length of a sentence is, increasingly, not the severity of a crime, but the
supposed risk that an offender will do something worse if released. 

Risk assessment
is at best an inexact science – often, as we shall see later, shockingly so.
But its emerging role in the sentencing process is having dramatic
consequences: hundreds, soon to be thousands, of petty arsonists, pub brawlers
and street muggers are in effect being given life, usually on the basis of
highly subjective pre-sentence reports.

Home Office
models predict that by 2011, there will be 12,500 inmates serving IPPs – more
than three times as many as those doing life for murder. 

That’s how the
Gestapo got rid of petty criminals, to begin with.  They then devised the Concentration Camps,
because they too ran out of prison places.


This article,
published by the New
will shock you if you believed that in the
UK you were innocent before being proven
guilty, if you believe that the punishment should fit the crime, or even if you
believed that in the
UK that freedom and liberty are rights that
cannot be challenged.

Philip K Dick wrote of a
system governed by the notion of “precrime”, where people who had yet
to do anything wrong were convicted and sentenced because the authorities
“knew” they would.

Dick was writing science
fiction, but even minus his “precogs” – weird beings with the gift of
second sight – the precrime world is already here. It shows every sign of
becoming an authoritarian dystopia.


This comment seen
on the Magistrates

By chance I
recently met a member of the Parole Board, and this subject came up. He was
very unhappy about it, saying that before an IPP prisoner can be considered for
release at the end of the minimum term he will need to be assessed and that the
resources to carry out these assessments simply do not exist in many prisons.
He was adamant that almost no prisoner will just serve the minimum, and that
many will stay inside for years simply for lack of anyone to carry out the
necessary procedures.


Did the Gestapo
do that?

Yes, Preventative
Detention was the mainstay of the Gestapo doctrine.

Basic notions of
fundamental fairness in the enactment of criminal legislation simply didn't exist.
Ex post-facto laws were common; people could be punished for acts that were not
even criminal when they were committed. Indeed, people could be punished even
for acts that were never made expressly criminal if such acts were
“similar” to those that were (doctrine of analogy in criminal law).
The state had the right to appeal an acquittal or what it regarded as a lenient
sentence. or it could simply forego the appeals route altogether and invoke
preventive detention. Contrary to the central idea that conduct proscribed as
criminal should be identified with specificity, criminal statutes were often
phrased in vague, general terms that could, and often did, apply to virtually
anything giving defendants no advance warning that their conduct could be prosecutable. 

In the UK today,
that translates into Legislative
and Regulatory Reform Act 2006
, Serious
Organised Crime and Police Act 2005
, Anti-social
Behaviour Act 2003

The question of
whether widespread legal resistance would have made a difference. On one level,
of course, the answer may be irrelevant. The duty to oppose evil does not
depend on any calculus of success. On another level, I would submit that
resistance may very well have been effective. Particularly in the early years
of the Reich, the 1935-1936 period when Hitler was still consolidating his power,
the legitimation of his decrees by the courts and the legal profession was a
crucial element in extending the government's authority. Each small victory,
each incursion into personal liberties without protest enabled Nazism to extend
its insidious tentacles further. The policy of appeasement in domestic affairs
worked as effectively as it later did in the area of foreign policy with the
same disastrous results. Perhaps more so than for any other segment of German
society, the judiciary's abdication of responsibility was not only a personal
moral failure but a catastrophe for the world at large. If anything, this
should teach us to be vigilant about our own liberties).


“The further back you look, the further forward
you can see.” (Winston Churchill)


About IanPJ

Ian Parker-Joseph, former Leader of the Libertarian Party UK, who currently heads PDPS Internet Hosting and the Personal Deed Poll Services company, has been an IT industry professional for over 20 years, providing Business Consulting, Programme and Project Management, specialising in the recovery of Projects that have failed in a process driven world. Ian’s experience is not limited to the UK, and he has successfully delivered projects in the Middle East, Africa, US, Russia, Poland, France and Germany. Working within different cultures, Ian has occupied high profile roles within multi-nationals such as Nortel and Cable & Wireless. These experiences have given Ian an excellent insight into world events, and the way that they can shape our own national future. His extensive overseas experiences have made him all too aware of how the UK interacts with its near neighbours, its place in the Commonwealth, and how our nation fits into the wider world. He is determined to rebuild many of the friendships and commercial relationships with other nations that have been sadly neglected over the years, and would like to see greater energy and food security in these countries, for the benefit of all. Ian is a vocal advocate of small government, individual freedom, low taxation and a minimum of regulation. Ian believes deeply and passionately in freedom and independence in all areas of life, and is now bringing his professional experiences to bear in the world of politics.
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