Is Prevention Better than Cure? The Ever-increasing Criminalisation of Acts Preparatory to an Offence in Spain
This paper critically analyses the quantitative and qualitative increase in the punishment of conduct preparatory to an offence displayed in recent times under Spanish criminal law. It demonstrates that this phenomenon, which is consistent with the international trend to further advance the punitive line of defence, is driven largely by the objective of punishing individuals based on their dangerousness rather than on the harm caused by their specific acts. It also highlights the serious risks that this implies for the principles underlying any democratic state governed by the rule of law. Finally, the article outlines the rationale for and the limits on the punishment of preparatory acts, which, in the author’s view, should apply on a general basis to such punishment if those risks are to be avoided.
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