Proactive Forensic Profiling: Proactive Criminalization?

Mireille Hildebrandt

in The Boundaries of the Criminal Law

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780199600557
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729171 | DOI:

Series: Criminalization

Proactive Forensic Profiling: Proactive Criminalization?

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Chapter 4 dealt with the question of how the boundaries of the criminal law are being pushed by the developments of noncriminal policies. This chapter considers the problem of how these boundaries are being pushed by the creation of new technologies. In particular, it examines new profiling technologies that enable law enforcers to predict on a statistical basis which categories of citizen are prone to become involved in what types of criminal behaviour. While this type of risk assessment has been discussed in criminological theory before, focusing in particular on the implications for policing and sentencing the chapter considers the potential impact of these techniques on the process of criminalization. It argues that profiling technologies of this sort seem to ‘afford’ a criminal justice system that holds citizens responsible not for what they do, but simply for displaying characteristics that match criminal profiles. This raises the important question of whether we may expect the development of new notions of responsibility that justify a kind of pre-crime ‘punishment’.

Keywords: criminal law; profiling technologies; law enforcement; criminal behaviour; risk assessment

Chapter.  11541 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law

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