Exile as an alternative to prison?

I think the prison system in its present state is unnecessarily cruel. Perhaps exile could be a better solution. Residents would have to forfeit right to privacy and freedom of movement among other things, but they’d retain their dignity, sanity, and pride.

Put everyone in a large restricted-access city. Maintain a high level of surveillance. Require regular psychological checkups. Give everyone an education. Make sure that everyone has a job. Integrate men and women. Outsiders should be able to come in freely, but to maintain security, it should be very difficult to leave, even for voluntary residents.

Because being in exile more closely resembles the outside world than traditional prison, it would be much easier to integrate convicts into society at the end of a sentence.

I think you’ve just stumbled upon the next big reality TV sensation.

Yeah. Just push them off on some other people to deal with.

I don’t think that’s the point. Let me see if I understand: Make a little mini society of convicted criminals in the desert somewhere, highly watched and guarded, where they have their own little local economy?

Heh. Not saying I disagree with your sentiment, but I wonder whether criminals would be open to integration with other criminals like that. It’d be an interesting little experiment.

Sounds like someone watched Escape from New York last night.

No, I haven’t watched that movie. NYC would be a terrible choice; it is too well connected. An ideal location would be a remote island, although it might be more practical place it in the middle of a desert. Only one way in and one way out.

I think the greater freedom would reduce the desire to escape. And we could still keep the old-style prisons for people who can’t get along in exile.

Are you going to put the guy who bounced too many checks on the same island as the serial killer?

Or do different crimes get different exile locations?

Sounds like a well-uphoulstered prison to me.

Not sure about the merits of this idea yet, but if you need a location, Hawaii might work – well-isolated, already a US territory, and you can break up different classes of prisoners by islands.

Of course, the natives would hate it, and I can’t quite blame them… :slight_smile:

Of course, this does suggest the perfect way to get back at Castro for the Mariel boatlift :wink:

Who would handle law enforcement within the prison city? If the guards then you would need a lot of guards, if the prisoners then you might end up with an ugly ugly society

Unless you are saying that this would only be open to the least threatening offenders, in which case, I think that hte effort involved in keeping everyone clean (no illegal drugs in, no misprescribed medicine, no use of phones or computers to perpetrate crime) could still make it prohibitively expensive. Unless the vast majority of the population wants it to work and are willing to rat each other out to keep each other honest.

The current prison system is unnecessarily cruel. We dump all types of dysfunctional people in prison in an effort to forget about them. The system usually renders inmates less functional as they adapt to prison life.

Exile would function like a remedial society where everyone would be able to learn how to become good citizens. Unlike prison, each person would have an individual rehabilitation plan. Psychological diseases would be treated. Violent or dangerous offenders would be restricted to their homes.

Although outsiders would be free to come in, it wouldn’t be the greatest place to live. Cameras would be everywhere, including inside homes. Even voluntary residents would have to submit to searches and surveillance. All incoming and outgoing mail and packages would be searched. It would take a week to get clearance to leave. Anything from the outside world would be in limited supply.

There would be a great demand for guards, but much of the work would be automated, some of the work could be handled by mandatory residents. There would be tons of video to review and those that prove trustworthy could move up to other things.

Well, you could always banish them to the Stygian Universe so they could play “King of the Mountain” with Jet Li.

Yeah, it’s almost like they’re criminals or something.

Sounds more to me like someone needs to read Robert Heinlein’s Coventry.

** juan2003, ** what do you do with those people who don’t want to be a “good citizen?” I’m not talking about mentally ill people, but people who are just plain * mean. *

Not everyone in prison is a nice person who made mistakes. There are some people in there who take delight in causing others pain, and would take any opprotunity to do so.

Funding this kind of operation would be astronomically expensive. Do we * buy * a city, or build a new one? (Note that many prisons are already like a small city-- just surrounded by fencing.) Considering that the State is responsible for the inmate’s well-being, how do we ensure that each one is not being victimized and is getting everything he needs? (It’d be almost impossible to watch everyone 24-hours a day.)

Prison funding is already as tight as Britney Sprears’ outfits. Politicians extoll that they are “tough on crime!” but then turn around and cut prison funding as soon as they can. The public approves: they seem to think, for some reason, that these budget cuts eliminate “luxuries” for the prisoners, like cable and recreational programs. That’s not true. Cuts are usually made in staff, making already-crowded institutions more dangerous. Sometimes, prisons are closed, cramming more inmates into the ones left open.

You’re right on one account: prisons are the “garbage dumps” of society. The general public doesn’t give a damn about the people inside, as long as they don’t have to look at them. (NIMBY) They resent the idea of inmates having any “privledges” like basketball courts and movies. I honestly imagine some would be happy to keep inmates in cold cells, feeding them bread and water.

However, the current prison system makes a concerted effort to see to it that inmates are kept in good conditions, that they have recreational and educational programs to keep them occupied, and the occasional treat to give them something to behave for. And they do this on an ever-tightening budget.

My husband works in a prison, and even being a liberal-minded person, I don’t find the place “unnecessarily cruel.” It’s not a *pleasant * place to live, but it shouldn’t be-- after all, these men are there to be punished for their crimes. They suffer from not being able to see their loved ones as often as they’d like, and from being in a very structured environment with little privacy, and also from being around some pretty mean people.

The prison my husband works in does function like a little city. The inmates go to their jobs, just like you or I, and after work, they may play softball or watch the game on TV with their friends. They can go to school, go to chruch, go to the doctor and dentist, or go down to the commissary to pick up a bag of chips. It’s not exactly like life on the outside, of course, but again, it shouldn’t be. They’re in prison.

Oh, bugger. I smell another colony being built.

Allowing the exiled to return kind of defeats the purpose of exile. I don’t see how a city populated entirely by murderers, rapist, thieves, and thugs is going to resemble the outside world. The cost of supervising all the prisoners, ensuring that they remain safe from one another, and the logistics of it all is going to be astronomical.


How 'bout Perth?

Punishment is not the answer. There are a lot of different reasons why a person might choose a life of crime. I think that it would be possible to cure the great majority of those people so that they may become normal functional members of society.

After one has been reformed he/she should be able to live a happy and meaningful life, even if he/she remains incarcerated. I don’t see how that is possible in the current system.

I think an exile city would be a more natural environment than a prison and it would be more conducive to the mental health of its inhabitants. It would be more expensive than a traditional prison, but it would be much more humane.