Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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With modern technology, dismemberment is rendered ‘armless.
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The problem with capital punishment, skirting briskly past pedestrian questions of morality, is that if you punish the wrong suspect there's no going back: They're dead. Consequently, and in many ways thankfully, the practice isn't called upon swiftly or in vast numbers. However, this therefore diminishes the fear of punishment among those considering a capital crime.

A cultural parallel is Sharia law's concept of the hudud "punishment-fits-the- crime" penalties, the most notorious of which is the severing of a thief's hand or foot. However, hudud punishment suffers from the same problem as capital punishment, it is generally not rectifiable. On the other hand, it is considerably more rectifiable than the death penalty.

My idea is for the adoption of hudud punishment with the addition of cryogenic stasis for severed limbs. Upon the removal of an offending limb, in a careful medical procedure, it is then placed in a monitored stasis chamber to be kept in perpetuity until called for. This facilitates three important practices:

1.) The reattachment of a severed limb in the result of a successful appeal by the defendant, accompanied with a sincere apology and a pat on the back.
2.) The reattachment of a severed limb after the fulfilment of a period of good behaviour, accompanied by a firm handshake and a congratulatory "well done".
3.) The attachment of a severed limb onto an applicant other than the former owner upon his or her death.

This may also have the following effects:

1.) As the practice becomes commonplace our prisons will empty and could be converted into cryo-storage facilities. This, I believe, would cost a lot less to maintain than housing a few thousand inmates and keeping them fed, clothed, warm and under guard.
2.) A possible reduction in crime for fear of having something chopped off coupled with the knowledge that the state is more inclined to carry out such sentences, now having the ability to repeal them.
3.) (Tenuous) Large boom for prosthetics industry, increases R&D in the field and affiliated medical practices.
4.) (Tenuous) Increase in disabled- access facilities to buildings and transport.

Possible drawbacks:

1.) Widespread prejudice against the disabled.
2.) Secret government Frankenstein- soldier projects.
3.) Ex-con cyborg rampage.

theleopard, Jun 25 2008

Regrow limbs http://thescotsman....regrowth.2519423.jp
Use the old ones for compost/ivory carvings? [theleopard, Jul 01 2008]

[Jutta]'s nostalgia http://en.wikipedia...dido_Street_Station
Sounds completely nuts! [theleopard, Jul 01 2008]


       "...it is generally not rectifiable. On the other hand," oh my heavens. What if there are no other hands?   

       Ooh, #3 in your first set of practices smacks of Niven's organ banks composed of former criminals. Not that that's a bad thing, mind.   

       Neatly sliced bun, one half in the freezer for later.
elhigh, Jun 25 2008

       How about a device or process that blocks nerve impluses? Then the limb can remain attached, but unusable.
phoenix, Jun 25 2008

       //What if there are no other hands? //
Well, quite obviously, he was innocent.
coprocephalous, Jun 25 2008

       Obviously he's been down on his luck, poor sod. Give the man a hand!
theleopard, Jun 25 2008

       Even if the legislators knuckled down and punched this through parliment, in some ham-fisted attempt to control crime, I think you would find that a large percentage of the population would simply vote with their feet.
4whom, Jun 25 2008

       Could people have extra limbs grafted on in lieu of the likes of knighthoods and OBEs? That way, the monarch would have to wield a scalpel rather than a sword.
nineteenthly, Jun 25 2008

       Wasn't that cool, that thing that's not medically practical yet, that I read about in a science fiction book?
normzone, Jun 25 2008

       Hands are grafted now. They aren't fully functional, but it can be done. Also, when i suggested honours be replaced by organs, i envisaged them being grafted onto random parts of the body rather than them actually being used, rather like a coat of arms.
nineteenthly, Jun 25 2008

       Yes, transplant tech has come a long way. Cryogenic storage is still lagging.
normzone, Jun 25 2008

       [theleo] You're out on a limb with this one. Frankly, I don't think you've got a leg to stand on.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 25 2008

       "How did you get caught?"   

       "Somebody fingered me."
normzone, Jun 25 2008

       "I finally found a lawyer good enough to get my conviction overturned...but it cost me an arm and a leg."   

       //Ex-con cyborg rampage//   

Custardguts, Jun 25 2008

       It is about time someone applied the benefits of science fiction technology to remedy the shortcomings of Sharia law. In defense of theleopard, I think a few marathon sessions with the SciFi channel will demonstrate that drawbacks #2 and #3 could be true (and prove to be true after the first 20-30 minutes of the show) for nearly every such application, and so should not be considered as particular to this one.
bungston, Jun 25 2008

       This reminds me of the rather dark Sci-Fi world of China Mievile's "Perdido Street Station", where convicted criminals are used for limb and skin grafting experiments.
jutta, Jun 25 2008

       //Cryogenic storage is still lagging.//   

       Hmmm, perhaps you're right, but from what I can gather, the main hurdle with cryonics - in storing an entire human body - is that revival is not yet demonstrable, mainly due to damage to the brain. However, human tissue is often cryogenically frozen in scientific research. Are whole limbs not demonstrable yet?   

       If not, applications for limb replacement may have to await pending future technologies to revive the tissue - which is the brilliant get-out clause behind cryonic practices. Yeah, sure, it doesn't work yet, but it *might* do one day. That's £20,000 please.   

       Another possibility is the current research into limb regrowth [linky], though still in its infancy.
theleopard, Jul 01 2008


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