The Federation Press

Sex Offenders and Preventive Detention

Politics, policy and practice


How should society manage sex offenders who are released from prison? How can sex offenders be detained in a way that prevents re-offending while respecting civil liberties? Is preventive detention a type of double punishment? Do prison-based sex offender treatment programs work? What is the best way to protect the community from sex offending?

Professors McSherry and Keyzer focus on three key modern policy responses to such questions, and the cases that propelled their development:

  • Earl Shriner in Washington State, and the United States approach of detaining ‘sexually violent predators’ in special institutions;
  • Dennis Ferguson in Queensland, and the Australian post-sentence detention and supervision schemes;
  • John Cronin in Scotland, and the Scottish approach of making orders for lifelong restriction at the time of sentence.

Table of Contents

Three Case Studies
Politics of Risk and Precaution
Policy Issues
Practical Issues
Table of Cases

Of interest...