Re: Liberty vs. Extropy

den Otter (
Tue, 25 May 1999 00:30:36 +0200

> From: Michael S. Lorrey <>

> > Apart from that, your
> > prison system (and in fact just about all the prison systems of the
> > so-called "civilized" nations) are simply barbaric. Little better than
> > concentration camps, really.
>> Well, we tried going the route that european prisons are: pretty much forced vocational education and psych treatment. Problem was, the recidivism stats showed that it was a failure here. Here, the stats seem to bear out that if you make prison life as unbearable as possible, a crook is far less likely to want to go back to such an institution, so they took out the weight lifting equipment (reduces guard costs, esp. medical bills) they are taking out the college courses, etc. except at the minimum security resorts.<<

My basic objection against the current (Euro & US) prison systems is that: 1) They allow physical contact between inmates, which opens the door for rape, beatings, murder and other nastiness. Ironically, the worst, most hardened & violent criminals have the easiest time, while the lesser offenders suffer under their regime. 2) The prison officials have way too much power, which results in situations as described above. In other words, the prison system is, just like the rest of the legal system btw, pretty much arbitrary.

The solution: automated prisons (afaik, Greg Burch had a great post about this once). One inmate per cell, no physical contact between inmates and only highly monitored contact between guards and inmates. For good measure, every square inch of the prison should have camera surveillance, with direct and well-protected links to independent controlling organizations, at least some of which should be private (non-government), lawyers and maybe even the prisoner's relatives. All recorded data should be stored for at least one year, to serve as evidence in the rare case of some mishap (example: was a suicide *really* a suicide?).

Educational programs, psychiatric/medical treatments should be optional, but simply keeping the offender out of the general population (in the case of murderers, by means of capital punishment) is good enough as far as I'm concerned.