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

  (+4, -7)
(+4, -7)
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The trouble with prison is that we sentence people to time. We give them a comfortable cell, good food, reading material and TV, sports, communal visits and even education. Sentencing times are what I call "career" times. Five, ten and twenty year sentences only serve to give a person a new home...many criminals have told me they never had a stable life until they went to prison. Some have told me that ater five years, no one knows them on the street and all their firends are in prison, so they prefer to stay in prison. I know that is hard for a free person to comprehend...but it is true. So, I came up with "Rock Prison". Instead of judges sentencing people to time, they should sentence people to move a certain weight of rocks. It would work like this. The prisoner is sentenced to ...say...twenty thousand pounds of rocks to move. The prison has two huge piles of rocks and a weigh station between them. The rock piles are 150 yards apart. The person, upon arrival at the prison, is issued a wheel barrow and a shovel and told to get to work. One wheel barrow can carry about 200 lbs of rocks. So every five barrows is equal to a thousand pounds. So, the guy has to move a hundred barrows, fully loaded, before he is released...or what ever poundage he can carry per load. The guardss at the weight station record the weight of the load as he passed from on rock pile to the next. He can only move rocks in one direction...he must reload the barrow every round trip. Now, if a prisoner says, "I refuse to carry rocks." He is allowed to sit in a cell as long as he wants and gets food rations according to the needs of an idle person. Workers get to go to the mess hall,eat all they want, watch a little TV, etc. But, idlers just get the bare necessities until they decide to work off their sentence. An average person could be out of prison in very short order...at the most six months, but the boring heavy work would certainly be something no one would want to repeat...in other words, prison would no longer be any kind of "fun". At the end of a day, prisoners would be too tired to make any trouble. Society would not have to support these jokers for twenty years, the punishment would be a deterrent to repeating offences and society would feel like criminals were actually being punished.

Yes..I was a Prison Guard from 1984 throu 1996 in New Mexico State penniteniary. I became Chief of Maintenance for one of the many "time" prisons in that state in 1990. At that time it cost $49,000.00 (average) a year to keep one prisoner and $75,000.00 to build one prison cell in a new prison. I do know where-of I speak. I have personally known thousands of convicted felons.

Blisterbob, Sep 16 2005


       Yay, bring back heavy labour as a punishment.   

       //the boring heavy work would certainly be something no one would want to repeat//
As opposed to the super exciting mail sack stitching and number plate making?
calum, Sep 16 2005

       Or they could build 1000's of Wiper savers.
skinflaps, Sep 16 2005

       //prison would no longer be any kind of "fun"//   

       //Society would not have to support these jokers for twenty years//   

       First of all, these sentiments seem pretty alien to me - I don't think prison looks like a great deal of fun, and I don't think society is supporting "jokers".   

       I also don't think there's much call for moving 20,000lbs of rock from one location to another, slightly different location right now.   

       Is the rock part of some civil engineering contract, or is it 'punishment' rock, a gravelly, bite-sized version of Sisyphus' boulder? If so, then this idea has been baked since the days of Greek mythology, which may be a record for the bakery.   

       I think it could be a good competition to find which ideas on the bakery have been commonly known to exist for the longest amount of time.   

       Are there any "Attractive Force: Diminishes exponentially over distance", "Big Bang: A really great big bang", "Dinosaurs: Big lizardy things with pointy teeth" type of ideas still in the bakery?
zen_tom, Sep 16 2005

       While I agree with the author that prisons are too soft, there is no real "invention" here. It's advocacy, and there's no newness to the idea. There should be a way to make prison more difficult, and cheaper, for less money.
Madai, Sep 16 2005

       i think [bb] just wants a great big castle.
schmendrick, Sep 16 2005

       In the days of legal corporal punishment in schools (eyes get a bit misty here) this type of exercise was an infinitely better dissuader than, say reading and writing practice in the lecture hall. I feel this would be pointless in prisons ... better to make life so sweet that it seems like heaven, then kick 'em out on their mendicant asses. Welcome to the jungle, baby.
reensure, Sep 16 2005

       I'm tempted to stamp this [m-f-d] advocacy (see the help file), as this is an almost classic example. However, the idea that you can earn your way out of prison is a little bit of a twist on the usual "make life harder for prisoners" type of ideas.   

       I do think the concept more or less exists in the form of "time off for good behavior". Sure, it's license plates and clothes instead of rocks, but it exists (and you knew that, being an ex-prison guard).
Worldgineer, Sep 16 2005

       /Now, if a prisoner says, "I refuse to carry rocks." He is allowed to sit in a cell as long as he wants and gets food rations according to the needs of an idle person./   

       /Society would not have to support these jokers for twenty years/ -   

       So we only need to support the ones who liked prison and refuse to move rocks. The healthy, motivated and energetic young criminals quickly move their rocks then get back out while their street cred is still strong. Hmmm. I give you - fish.
bungston, Sep 16 2005

       I guess BB never came across any handicapped inmates or ones with limbs shot off during his tenure.
goober, Sep 16 2005

       I couldn't help but think of the "boulder of shame" and "boulder of triumph" gag from the Simpsons episode with the Stonecutters while reading this.
krelnik, Sep 16 2005

       Hey BB, remember me? (just kidding).
RayfordSteele, Sep 16 2005

       OK. I like the fundamental concept - change the units of measure from time to work. But moving rocks doesn't create value. How about developing a human sized hamster wheel connected to a magnet within a coil to generate electricity much like a hydroelectric power station? The convict would be sentenced to, say, 500 megawatts. This power could then be fed back into the grid and society would benefit from lower energy costs.
Dasher, Sep 17 2005

       I also way hoping for some kind of prison where people entered burglers, and left in groups of 4-5 with guitars, bass etc.
Germanicus, Sep 17 2005


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