Future crime —
A criminal act that has not occurred (or even been planned) but is believed by the government to be possible in the future. Future crime is inherently speculative and imaginary. A future crime can never be proven — much less proven beyond a reasonable doubt — because by definition it has not occurred. The government argues that “the past is the best predictor of the future.” By this rationale, all persons living with a conviction for a past crime are automatically guilty of imaginary future crime. The American Psychiatric Association had derided this reasoning as “circular [logic].” Future crime is anathema to the concept of due process, ignores the fact that the vast majority of persons do not commit a crime after their release, undermines the fundamental model of our criminal justice system (that punishment will dissuade crime), and denies the universal humane capacity for change.
A law or policy (usually by the government) that purports to intervene in crime before it occurs. The term was popularized by Philip K. Dick in his 1956 dystopian short story Minority Report. A 2002 film by the same name introduced a broader audience to the dangers of laws that punish someone for what they might do in the future. Tom Cruise stars as a “precrime” agent who uncovers the hidden abuse of the system he originally championed — a system too good to be true. The term pre-crime emphasizes the criminal justice focus of these laws — which fraudulently claim to be “mental health”, “behavioral health”, or “psychiatric interventions” — while also invoking a dystopian science fiction reference. In these real-life legislative schemes the “pre-cogs” of science fiction have been replaced by psychologist who provide “expert testimony” for the prosecution, but they perform essentially the same functions by claiming to predict the future. The use of the term pre-crime also strongly implies an intent to punish the person for future crime — distinguishing the practice from a putatively non-punitive preventative detention.
Preventive detention —
Confinement for the purpose of incapacitating a person from causing some projected harm in the future, specifically prospective imprisonment beyond the normal charge–and–conviction paradigm and the safeguards of the criminal justice system.