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Cover Sentencing and Punishment

5. Risk and danger  

This chapter reviews the current policy focus on the ‘dangerous’ offender and the aim of protecting the public from the risk posed by an offender’s reoffending. It examines notions of risk and dangerousness, noting that these may be historically contingent, and discusses developments in relation to preventive detention. It also examines the utilitarian justifications for selective incapacitation of offenders, or groups of offenders, believed to be dangerous, noting problems caused by the IPP sentence. The chapter then examines the changes in sentencing law, focusing on particular types of penalty and order. Lastly, it discusses the provisions for control of dangerous prisoners through discretionary release procedures.