The United Nations Human Rights Committee's views about the legitimate parameters of the preventive detention of serious sex offenders
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Legislation that is presently in place in a majority of the Australian States adopts the radical approach of using prison as a venue for the preventive detention of sex offenders after the conclusion of their prison sentences. The High Court of Australia upheld the constitutional validity of Queensland's legislation in 2004. But the United Nations Human Rights Committee has recently found that the preventive detention regimes in the Queensland and New South Wales (and, by implication, Western Australia and Victoria) are in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which provides for guarantees of due process and prohibits arbitrary detention and the retroactive infliction of increased punishment. This article reviews the Committee's decisions, and examines their implications.
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