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Pain Machine

Penal sentences measured in seconds.
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To dispense with the expense and trouble of housing and feeding offenders, replace the traditional punishment of imprisonment with the infliction of pain through direct electrical stimulation of the pain centers (the locations of which are known, if roughly.) This form of punishment is arguably less barbaric than what is currently used; sentences could be measured in seconds and milliseconds instead of years and months.

The basic idea (if not the method of implementation) is not new; the English Colonists in America believed long-term imprisonment to be an excessively cruel form of punishment, and inflicted only quick and painful penalties.

dsm, Oct 03 2000

BBC News Story http://news6.thdo.b...5F643000/643363.stm
[hippo, Oct 03 2000]


       The serious point behind this I suppose is the question "What are we trying to acheive by locking people in prison?" - in the US, it seems, one in three black men between 20 and 29 are in jail or on probation, and it's not clear what the aim is. Rehabilitation? Punishment? Removal of dangerous elements from society?
The HalfBakery probably isn't the best forum to really explore this but given the effectiveness of imprisonment in turning out more and more hardened criminals, almost any alternative idea, no matter how halfbaked, is worthy of consideration.
hippo, Oct 03 2000

       Americas most shameful statistics revolve around men of color, and hippo you're right and yet for the most part you're right:(...it's not clear what the aim is) I believe it is fear and control. Neither are necessary.
I'll qualify myself somewhat: I'm a white male. At separate times I've lived with a (African American 'short form' black)black male friend, dated black females exclusively for years and am deeply commited to my girlfriend and her son-both black-with whom I have made a home below the Hollywood sign for some time now. I've also lived in Los Angeles since shortly after the 'Rodney King riots'. I've spent a good amount of time in and around the primarily black Crenshaw District by myself, with other friends white or black.
I've seen more black males stopped and harassed by LAPD than any other race in all areas of the City. (I travel @80 miles daily 3/4 city 1/4 freeway). I'm the only white guy I'm aware of who's been pulled over in Beverly Hills where I used to live. And I've seen a lot of black men pulled over there. And it makes me ANGRY!
So I say yes, make the punishment quick and electrically charged. Line up the cops and let all those patient black men who've been pulled over and/or charged and/or jailed and/or imprisoned have a go at it. Beware the fury of a patient man. You think the LAPD would have figured that out.
thumbwax, Oct 03 2000

       dead right [thumbwax]. but you still have to remove the underlying problems of poverty and/or drug addiction. not that black people are generally poor and on drugs,it's just that because of rascism and present conditions that's the way it turns out in a lot of cases. and by the way, it's not just black people. i'm from northern ireland which is mostly white, but here the rascism is towards roman catholics, in exactly the same way it has been for blacks in america. and we have exactly the same problems. believe it or not (although this is irrelevant) we're actually classified as a 3rd world country! so i sympathise completely.   

       and [hippo] you made the most relevant point of all here, about prison turning out hardened criminals. it's like an Institute for Criminal studies. people become dysfunctional (in the least bullshit-psychologist kind of way) due to their surroundings/circumstances. where's the sense in putting them into an even worse environment as a form of 'rehabilitation'. you don't stop someone drinking by giving them smack.
FrancoCoylioni, Oct 03 2000

       There was an interesting book (author forgotten) entitled "The Ring". In the fictional society, persons committing crimes had a disc inserted in their fingers. Literally the finger was severed and a high-tech disk permanently inserted. Its diameter slightly larger than the finger and all bones, blood vessels, nerves, etc, re-attached through the disc.   

       The disc was an AI computer that detected anti-social thoughts and applied pain in proportion to the intensity of the intent. The plot turned on the hero, a "ringee", having to commit some anti-social act in order to save the world. But the literal-minded A.I. didn't grasp the situation.   

       Meanwhile I find Franco here bloviating about the 'harassment' of black males. Perhaps he should ask Jesse Jackson why he said in 1993: “There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery—then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved.”
boris, Oct 04 2000

       A friend of mine and I were writing anti-Queen songs in 1973 because of Belfast. And I'm a [primarily Welsh blooded!] 17th generation American non-Catholic
thumbwax, Oct 04 2000

       2 points [boris] : 1 that story about the ring might have been a good story but it is fictional, and the fictional AI in question was obviously a poor design, making decisions which would obviously need far more complex thought and, if the ring-system were ever put into practice, would never be given over to a computer anyway.people are too paranoid about them as it is (thanks to fiction like "the ring" no doubt).   

       2 If I asked Jesse Jackson anything of the sort, he would probably tell that the black male was reduced to petty crime due to an unbalanced and unfair socio-economic state brought about by racial prejudice and abuse. which is probably the context in which he made the original statement anyway.
FrancoCoylioni, Oct 04 2000

       It's the context that his spindoctors applied to it, anyway...
StarChaser, Oct 05 2000

       Anyone remember the South Park movie? The scene where Cartman wakes up from surgery, and is told to swear? The implant shocks him, so he swears again. Rinse, repeat.   

       I can tell you that the first thoughts I'd have if some AI was telling me I was burning to death simply because I want the twat who just cut me off to be at ground-zero of an ortillery strike.*   

       At the heart of the problem is the delightful little neglected fact that pain can drive a man truly, irretreivably insane, or at the very least make him act in conflict with his normal set of morals.   

       *I'd probably need to buy a humvee first; the idea of ramming some ricer with a Corolla in a fit of agony/blind rage is just laughable.
Chrontius, Oct 21 2004

       By far the best thing about Cartman's v-chip was that the worst oath in it's vocabulary, the one that triggered the Ryu style fireball was 'Barbera Streisand'.   

       Also, I've not read 'The Ring' but the Clamp from Greg Bear's 'Queen of Angels' sounds closer to the idea than the ring as described.
stilgar, Oct 26 2004

       How would you judge what a suitable level of pain is?
scubadooper, Oct 26 2004


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