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Jails With Subliminal Messages

Erase the criminal within
(+5, -5)
  [vote for,

Jails on average do not rehabilitate people. A lot of people re-offend. Jails create a subculture of criminals so that the jail setting may even make a repeat crime more likely.

What to do about this? Use subliminal messages. Subliminal messages are used in almost every commercial on T.V. and magazines to try and convince people to buy a particular product. What could happen is that criminals are forced to watch on movie specific to the crime they have commited. For example there would be one movie for robbery, one for rape, etc. These movies would be about how these crimes are wrong. Hidden within the movies would be subliminal messages furthering the message at another level.

As well, there could be a speaker on the top of each cell. These speakers would at certain times play some sort of music with a message hidden in it. For example, "Do not kill anyone ever again. It is wrong." This would be so soft so that the inmate would not notice it but it would be implanted in his brain. This system is not a cure-all but could perhaps drastically reduce second crimes from the same people.

pogoman59, Feb 13 2002


       ssshhh - do not steal bread for your children because you have no-one to help you and your family is a long way away and you cannot get a menial job and your lover has left you for a new person and you do not have any friends within shouting distance and you have a problem with reading and - oh crickey why do they imprison women for such trivial stuff - rant, sorry..
po, Feb 13 2002

       dunno if a blipvert saying "Killing is wrong" will stop most killers reoffending if they were likely to in the first place you know.   

       Anyway, isn't this a Clockwork Orange idea? Did it stop that horrorshow malchick?
notripe, Feb 13 2002

       You're confusing some sort of pop-culture/fantasy world with reality.
jutta, Feb 13 2002

       [[{{(( i should not post silly ideas))}}]]
neelandan, Feb 14 2002

       Perhaps not "most", but far more than what seems to be on the surface. I've read a number of books specifically about the subject. Boring, yet fascinating reads into the lengths a good Ad Film crew will go to in order to achieve desired effect which is to influence the back of the mind at a glance, and to do so effectively. In my view, most people fail to regisyter the transparency as being manipulated - I've discussed advertising with people - eg "what did you just see?" 'blah blah' "look at it again - see this?" 'omigod', etc. "did this register at the back of your mind at all before I pointed it out?" 'No' "So you didn't want to blow this guy/visualize this girl doing you?" 'Well, yeah' "Do you think the advertiser w_a_n_t_s you to think that in order to sell more of this product" 'damn, I guess so - bastards'
thumbwax, Feb 14 2002

       I would have to go with a combination of psychological counselling and educational programs in preference to this idea, although being as this is cheap and dubious, I can see the prison-loving legislators in the USA lapping it up.
pottedstu, Feb 14 2002

       Plus, I would guess that most criminals already know that killing is wrong.   

       <rant>Another better approach would be to reduce the number of pre-existing adverts telling people from the earliest age that instant gratification and owning stuff=happiness, while promoting envy and competitiveness, and avoiding any consideration of long-term consequences for your actions. "No girlfriend? Get material goods and drink beer!Hungry? Eat overpriced carcinogenic Sugar Byproducts! Fat? Eat over-priced Lo-Cal drinks! Consume! Consume! Consume!"</rant>
pottedstu, Feb 14 2002

       How about "You raped / killed / kidnapped (amend as appropriate) someone. You are an intrinsically evil person. You are never, EVER going to get out of here."
angel, Feb 14 2002

       Unless, in about twelve years time, after nearly a decade of campaigning and counter campaigning by journalists, it turns out there was some great big miscarrige of justice, the judge quashes your conviction and you walk free, directly to the nearest lawyer who you get to sue the state/police/anyone else-who-looked-at-you-funny for an awful lot of cash, which you can then go and spend on material goods, beer, girlfriends, chocolate, digital watches, low calorie drinks and everything else that makes our world such a terrible place.   

       Sod this, I'm off to hide behind a tree.
Zircon, Feb 14 2002

       Everything I've read on the topic suggests that subliminal messaging just doesn't work.
waugsqueke, Feb 14 2002

       Was it the French or German prime minister who, when asked recently about their higher unemployment rate compared to the US, said, "they have fewer unemployed because they have more prisoners."

US has the highest incarceration rate of any Western nation.

Other annos here are spot on, re: clockwork orange, and that most violent criminals know, but just don't care, that "It is wrong."

So I won't rant about how the high incarceration rate is evidence of deep societal dissatisfaction, how the hypertrophic economic myopia has effectively pathologized and criminalized individuals who cannot or will not conform to the value structure of competition, how much of what we call crime would disappear if we would evolve an economy of abundance rather than scarcity, and how most of the rest of crime would disappear if we replaced governmental paternalism with personal liberty and responsibility.

quarterbaker, Feb 14 2002

       The general consensus seems to be that subliminal advertising doesn't work; although non-subliminal advertising does work, and could be used in prisons. (Mind you, people would probably pay as little attention to a "don't kill" sign in jail as they do to a "don't fool around next to the bins" sign at work.)
pottedstu, Feb 14 2002

       Half-baked in "The Prisoner" - Patrick McGoohan's classic Sixties tv series on the relationship between individual and society.
Guy Fox, Feb 14 2002

       thanks Guy, so that was what it was all about then. Been to that village, fascinating. Portmeiron I believe.
po, Feb 14 2002

       Half-baked in 'Demolition Man' too...
StarChaser, Feb 14 2002

       When Channel 4 repeated 'The Prisoner', they showed two episodes in the wrong order. No-one noticed at the time, but they finally admitted it several weeks later.
angel, Feb 15 2002

       1st episode he was No 6, next week demoted to No 7.
po, Feb 15 2002

       One story, though, angel, is that, for the episodes not written by himself, McGoohan let the various writers see Episode One - "Arrival" - and asked each of them individually to go off and write Episode Two. Apart from the first episode and the last two, the series finale, I would say that each story is pretty much stand-alone, so it doesn't really matter about watching them "in sequence". This may be a completely apocryphal tale, but I wouldn't put it past McGoohan to have the whole series composed of entirely different #2's, just as an extra layer of obscure symbolism.
Guy Fox, Feb 15 2002


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