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How might "punishment" (for convicted criminals) interact with technology in the future?

Recently (Dr?) Rebecca Roache of Oxford got a team together, in her words, "to evaluate ethically the possible ways that punishment and technology might interact in the future." It was covered in the media (e.g. http://boingboing.net/2014/03/20/hell-on-earth-how-to-imprison.html) with emphasis on some of the more provoking parts. I wrote her a response and her reply was, "I’m not in favour of introducing any of the dystopian punishment methods discussed....unfortunately this point has got lost in most of the media coverage." So, controversy aside, I'm wondering how might "punishment" and technology might REALISTICALLY interact in the future and what ethical concerns should be considered. Share your ideas.

Also, a response from her to the media coverage/ a clarification:
http://rebeccaroache.weebly.com/1/post/2014/03/the-future-of-punishment-a-clarification.html

  • Apr 26 2014: People get bored. Technology can help keep prisoners occupied.
  • Apr 26 2014: My basic understanding of why Sharia Law and similar systems aren't used in America (and many other places) is that a lot of American law flows from the idea that:

    1. "What if they are actually innocent?"
    2. Christian ideas (the New Testament generally condemns "eye for an eye")
    3. Punishments should 'be equal' to crimes. If a person steals a car, ultimately, that car or its services can be replaced. If a person loses a hand - not even the most advanced prosthetic will restore the full service of that hand. This is also why things like the death penalty are more accepted than that kind of punishment (if you kill someone, you can't bring them back / if we kill you, you can't come back).
    4. And well, I think that kind of punishment has larger ramifications like you note (harder to work, people who lost their hands to accidents might be treated like ex-cons, etc) that just make it a costly system for society at large.


    Does this answer your question somewhat?
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    Apr 26 2014: sometimes i wonder why we don't have worse punishments for criminals, like you hear that arabs used to cut off hands of people who were caught stealing, but now we don't do that, but it doesn't sound so bad, except then if the person got out of prison with their hand cut off it would make it harder for them to work?