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Abolish all laws which punish people for what they ‘might’ do in the future

Comment 12th July 2010

basically anything where people are punished for 'being a risk' of doing something in the future rather than for having committed an offence

Why does this matter?

e.g. Safeguarding and Vulnerable Groups Act, Children Act 1989, POVA, POCA, Education Act 2002 sections 142-144

not compatible with principle of innocent until proven guilty

decision as to what is a 'significant risk' and what is a 'negligible risk' is highly subjective and a political decision which should not be made by bureaucrats or judges.

defintion of 'significant risk' can change due to hysterical media coverage of one case

accuracy of risk assessments is 'slightly better than guesswork' which cannot justify large punishments

prediction by risk factors gives average value for a group of people, not a value for a particular individual, allowing a person to be punished for what someone else might do in the future.

low standard of proof balance of probabilities inappropriate for large punishments

all existing punishments, bans etc. to be automatically annulled except for those on grounds of health, which would revert to appropriate professional body

punishments for offences that have actually been committed would be unaffected.

References:

The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb   Chapter 10

House of Cards by Robyn Dawes     Chapter 3

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