[LMB] SP: Prison Reform

Eric Oppen ravenclaweric at gmail.com
Tue May 29 18:57:27 BST 2018


I'm picturing the Vor lords singing:

"My object all sublime
I shall achieve in time
To make the punishment fit the crime
The punishment fit the crime!
And make each prisoner pent
Unwillingly represent
A source of innocent merriment,
Of innocent merriment!"

I daresay that things like the stocks and the pillory were used on
Barrayar.  They're generally non-lethal (unless the victim is REALLY
unpopular) but unpleasant enough that nobody wants to do it twice.

On Tue, May 29, 2018 at 12:53 PM, Gwynne Powell <gwynnepowell at hotmail.com>
wrote:

> From: WILLIAM A WENRICH <wawenri at msn.com>
>
>
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> Snippage.....
> In the time of isolation, we mostly see death sentences but the crimes we
> hear about are mostly treason.......
>
> Gwynne: A few random thoughts....
> In a society that's only one meal from starvation prison isn't a good
> option for offences -
> why should criminals sit and do nothing, and be fed, while workers are
> starving? And
> why lose the work ability of strong men (who tend to be the bulk of the
> criminal classes
> most of the time.)
>
> So more inventive penalties are used: executions in various entertaining
> forms are always
> seen as a deterrent for the worst crimes and most determined offenders.
> But for lesser crimes floggings are also a fun day out for the whole town
> (well, except for one).
> Removing various body parts is sometimes popular, but it can reduce the
> ability to work,
> and that's what's most important.
>
> We do hear jokes about armsmen being sent out to beat people up when
> they've annoyed
> a Count. In more robust times that was probably a major part of law
> enforcement.
>
> Fines (if the offender has any money), assorted methods of pain - all work
> better than
> expensive prisons, in a poor society.
>
> It's interesting that Barrayar has a really strong ban on slavery - maybe
> it was once used
> as a punishment too, but it didn't work out (they did have serfdom, but
> that's bound up
> in District loyalties. Slavery was a step too far even for Barrayar, it
> seems.)
>
> There's also some particular Barrayaran circumstances: especially in the
> earlier times there
> wasn't much terraformed land, so criminals couldn't just go bush (er, run
> away? take to
> the hills? Insert your national saying here) and hide out away from law
> enforcement; for a
> long time it just wasn't possible to live off the land. That would be
> another pressure to
> deter offences, since most proles couldn't run away, and make exile a real
> punishment.
>
> We see a tiny remnant of those earlier, inventive days when Miles passes
> judgement in
> MoM; he comes up with an unusual but very appropriate punishment, and
> nobody sees
> it as odd. Suitable punishment, stops further offending from her, teaches
> a lesson to
> everyone else, doesn't use up meagre resources, and means that Harra
> doesn't have to
> watch her mother die. Justice is seen to be done, village life isn't
> impacted. Works well
> all round.
>
> S
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>
> --
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