Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Convict Zoo

Let the civilized animals go free and place society's beasties in cages for public amusement.
  (+5, -8)
(+5, -8)
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Zoo's cage exotic animals for the public's amusement because they could not possible be let to roam the streets for they would cause harm to citizens, destroy ecosystems through acting as predators, parasites etc.

This reasoning sounds very similar to the western penal system's with the exception that the convicts are kept in cages "out of sight, out of mind" from the rest of society. This arrangement also has the difference that it is money waster, than a money maker.

Convicted felons should be kept in pavillions, at zoo's instead of animals who have been taken from their own environment (in most cases), and be exposed for the public's amusement with a short summary of the particular animal's character on the outside of every cage, like they would do with some other filthy critter. Such a summary would list their offence, their habitat, their common prey etc.

This arrangement would be far more profitable than the current practice of the penal system and more fun too.

ImBack, Aug 27 2002


       A return to stockades and public humiliation?
phoenix, Aug 27 2002

       Would we also have a safari version?
-alx, Aug 27 2002

       (Encouragement of ghoulish rubbernecking) plus (Misinformed criminological positivism) plus (Cruel and unusual punishment and/or degrading punishment) plus (Inappropriate capitalist intent) plus (Inappropriate "fun" element) equals

calum, Aug 27 2002

       Harassing convicts, cruel and unusual punishment.   

BinaryCookies, Aug 27 2002

       Calum you can keep your fishbones. I never expressed any type of "criminological positivism" so how could it be misinformed? As for cruel and unusual punishment and/or degrading punishment, just because current constitutional law prohibits it doesn't mean you must blindly obey. And my capitalist intent was not inappropriate it was hardly capitalist. In fact, this idea reeks of socialism because it is simply filling a void that the animals in the zoo create ( dont dare argue that society created the animals in the cage because I would agree and not have an argument). And "fun" is never an inappropriate element. In anything.   

       And Pheonix, I said nothing about stockades. But good idea though.
ImBack, Aug 28 2002

       Ignoring the concepts of stockades and admission charges for the moment, what is so wrong with the idea of publicly displaying convicted felons and the downsides of prison lifestyles? TV, radio and print media newspeople routinely report about the progress of on-going criminal investigations and the outcome of juried trials. Absent special circumstances, the identity of adult perpetrators are not a secret. And we all breathe a bit easier when a menace to society has been brought to justice and distanced from his/her ability to harm our loved ones.   

       Contrary to most of the previously expressed opinions, I think there is a high deterrence value to be gained from making public displays of convicted perpetrators, and it need not be inhumane treatment. Inmates in the Convict Zoo would naturally (and by statute, if necessary) be well-fed and provided quality physical medical care. They would be given spartan but functionally adequate climate-controlled quarters (bed, table,chair, lavatory) in which to maintain their privacy; however, anything beyond these minimums would be within the general public's view. While exercise areas would be openly accessible to inmates during the public's daylight viewing hours, you can expect that they would be routinely contained by perilous moats, fencing, and appropriately armed guards.   

       To me, the largest questions are not about whether the inmates' rights would be adequately protected; but, rather, whether enough parents would take their children to the Convict Zoo to experience the object lesson in order to justify the additional expense that such a facility would require to construct, staff, and maintain.   

       I'm inclined to believe that the public example of Convict Zoos would help to decrease the incidence of violent crime over an extended period of time. I'm just not sure how ready we all are to see this as a necessary and educational public attraction for our kids to experience.
jurist, Aug 28 2002

       "TV, radio and print media newspeople routinely report about the progress of on-going criminal investigations and the outcome of juried trials."   

       There are those of us who rather wish the whole media circus would calm down a bit and leave sensitive cases well alone. I believe there's to be an investigation into the behaviour of the press over their coverage of the two recently murdered schoolgirls in the UK - having caused great distress to their families and community.   

       My main problem with this idea is that it would encourage people to see these convicts as something other than human, increasing the inability of our species to recognise its own flaws and perhaps accept some responsibility for them.
-alx, Aug 28 2002

       When the shit hits the fan, the question will be - who threw it? The inmate, or the viewer...
thumbwax, Aug 28 2002

       In the 17th and 18th centuries, well-to-do folk used to pay for tours of bot Newgate Gaol and Bedlam (Bethlehem Hospital, London's lunatic asylum) to view the inmates, as "curiosities".   

       I'm not sure that a sort of human "zoo" is a particularly healthy thing for society to have. [-alx] is probably correct in that such an insttution might induce the general population to view the inamtes as other (less) than human. I recall the next stage after that is cattle trucks to the concentration camps .....   

       However, "loss of privacy" as a form of punishment is not without its merits. Webcams in prisons might help to ensure (i) continued good practice on the part of the warders, who would be under public scrutiny, (ii) an effective form of punishment for the inmates, who would be deprived of their privacy, and (iii) the deterrent effect of seeing what life is really like inside a prison.   

       Sadly, I think the actual effect would be to cause inmates to "perform" (i.e. start fights) for the benefit of the cameras, and garner an audience of voyeurs waiting for the said fights to occur ..... why not just re-introduce gladiatorial combat ? (And I think that one's been suggested - and heavily fishboned - already)
8th of 7, Aug 28 2002

       ImBack, perhaps I did not explain my points well enough.   

       Encouragement of ghoulish rubbernecking: point not contested.
Misinformed criminological positivism: Indeed, it was not expressly stated but was implied in the format of the idea. -alx hit the nail on the head with "...would encourage people to see these convicts as something other than human." Unless you are of the opinion that there is something physiologically or psychologically different about criminals (the essence of criminological positivism) then all that would be on show would be ordinary people with no distinguishing features. If you are not of this opinion, why put these people in a zoo? As jurist pointed out "TV, radio and print media newspeople routinely report about the progress of on-going criminal investigations and the outcome of juried trials."
Cruel and unusual punishment/degrading punishment: I'll agree with you that just because something is enshrined in a constitution or human rights legislation does not mean that you should blindly follow it. However, I am firmly of the opinion that such a punishment _would_ infringe the rights of the prisoners - for one thing, the criminals on display would be subject to constant verbal abuse (an infringement of Art 3 ECHR) by the ghoulish rubberneckers. In his annotation, -alx refers to two murdered schoolgirls. A couple (one man and one woman) was taken for questioning. The man was charged with murder and sent to a psychiatric hospital to see if he is fit to stand trial. The woman was charged with nothing more than attempting to pervert the course of justice. Yet 700 people turned up outside the court to hurl abuse at the woman as she passed them in the back of a police van. This woman has yet to be convicted of anything. Is ordinary prison not punishment enough for you?
Inappropriate capitalist intent: I'm flabbergasted that you feel that the prison system should be turning a profit (//This arrangement would be far more profitable // and //a money maker.//). I cannot understand - and therefore cannot argue against - your statement that the punishment system you describe "reeks of socialism." Unless you outline your argument, it will appear to me to be a non sequitur.
Inappropriate "fun" element: We are disagreeing on a philosophical level here so arguing will waste my breath and yours. For the record, I am of the opinion that there are situations where "fun" is not appropriate - the administration of justice is one of them.

       Please note that I am not looking for an argument (the punishment of criminals is an ancient and emotive topic I don't feel that arguing will get us anywhere here). I am merely explaining why I don't like this idea.
calum, Aug 28 2002

       It puts the "fun" in funerals of those on death row.
thumbwax, Aug 28 2002

       :::::applause:::::, calum.   

       Off-topic side-note to the media circus around the teaching assistant and the school caretaker: When and if either of these two stand trial, there are now major concerns about the possibility of any conviction standing. They might well get off (under sub-judice legislation, I think) because, the argument goes, they cannot now possibly recieve a fair trial. But I sometimes wonder if these blinkered hatemongers in the media and the mob actually have some kind of deep-seated need for 'monsters', for bogeymen to prowl around the margins of society. Seems to me that the self-righteous bloodlust is just the flipside of the ghoullish mob grief that's left Soham gaping in horror as tourists flock to _get_their_fucking_pictures_taken_ beside the flower-filled shrines to the dead girls.   

       Anyhoo, like the Convict Zoo's customers, like the Victorians at their freak shows, like Diana's 'mourners' buying the tabloid funeral specials, these voyeur vampires are just jerking off to a pornography of sentiment, and the more abuse they spew, the more they become like that they claim to hate. I really can't imagine the Convict Zoo being an 'object lesson' for anyone other than the borderline sociopath... and I think the lesson they'd learn would be exactly the opposite of the intended one: that so-called civilised humans are just vile, petty, ignorant, little nazis at heart who feed on other people's misery and justify it with the lies they call morals. If you want your kids to learn that it's ok to treat human beings with utter contempt and a complete lack of empathy as long as you maintain a veneer of respectability, the Convict Zoo should do a smashing job. It's not a world I want to live in.
Guy Fox, Aug 28 2002

       Not that I am comparing myself in anyway to Swift but you must have been tremendously outraged by 'A Modest Proposal'. Sometimes IT IS satire. See Horace.   

       Take Note: most inventions on this sight are satirical. Most are juvinalian, but some, just some are horacian so don't blow a spark plug if you come across any.
ImBack, Aug 28 2002

       Satire, but a sound idea at heart: let the public see that justice is done.
DrCurry, Aug 28 2002

       Aha, it's satire. Now I understand.   

       ImBack, if you are British, then you have picked an apposite topic for satire. If you are American (or Other), then you have inadvertantly touched a very sensitive nerve. Either way, why did you not mention that your post was satirical when you responded to my first annotation?   

       I apologise for misunderstanding your intent. As I have learned the hard way, it is very difficult to take ideas on this site at anything other than face value - an ironic wink is near impossible to communictae within this format.
calum, Aug 28 2002

       Hm... Well, I think that maybe an open prison system isn't such a bad idea. Obviously, people there just to give the convicts a hard time aren't welcome, but those who want to see, maybe talk to, the convicts, I think, should be allowed to see them.   

       This would be like a scare-yourself-straight program, in essence. And hey, maybe it would actually help some convicts(the ones that aren't totally crazed).
Crazy Bastard, Aug 29 2002

       I responded like I did the first time because rebuttal is half the fun of this site. And my last annotation was not exclusively directed to you, although, I was particularly touched by your arguments.
ImBack, Aug 29 2002

       Oh- why not an adjacent lawyer-zoo then? Now THAT would be a sight to see :-P
Crazy Bastard, Aug 29 2002

       ..... Lawyer Safari-Park Shooting Range .... bring your own gun and ammo .... like it.   

       Personally, I'd use a .177 air rifle, so that they bleed to death ever so slowly ..... poetic justice .....
8th of 7, Aug 29 2002

       Fee-U! Croissant for ImBack, if only for flushing out the longest-winded postings in bakery history.
General Washington, Aug 29 2002

       You want to check out some of Vernon's annotations, General Sir.
-alx, Aug 29 2002


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