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Old June 3 2012, 05:39 PM   #1
Photon
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Chief's "Punishment" in Hard Time

Cruel and Unusual for any day or time
Or
Creative and could serve as an example for crime/punishment
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Old June 3 2012, 07:02 PM   #2
Timo
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Re: Chief's "Punishment" in Hard Time

As far as we can tell, it shares a central problem with death penalty: it's an awful lot of punishment dished out in one package and cannot be aborted or compensated for if the person being punished is later found to be not guilty after all.

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Old June 3 2012, 08:39 PM   #3
naverhtrad
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Re: Chief's "Punishment" in Hard Time

Timo wrote: View Post
As far as we can tell, it shares a central problem with death penalty: it's an awful lot of punishment dished out in one package and cannot be aborted or compensated for if the person being punished is later found to be not guilty after all.

Timo Saloniemi
That struck me as a bit strange, though, almost a point of plot convenience. If Federation medical technology has the ability to alter memory, even of lived experience (as they did with Kurn in 'Sons of Mogh', for example), why was Bashir having so much trouble removing the experiences of prison from O'Brien's mind?

That said, though, it strikes me that the point of prison is not necessarily just punishment but also rehabilitation and protecting the rest of society from potentially dangerous and anti-social people, so this strikes me as a pretty piss-poor substitute from the latter standpoint.
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Old June 3 2012, 08:55 PM   #4
Timo
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Re: Chief's "Punishment" in Hard Time

..Unless we assume the method has been found to instill so much fear and agony in the punished that his or her emergence from the extremely brief incarceration is indeed as a "reformed individual", one incapable of persisting with a life of crime.

Since erasing of memory is a medico-technological trick for the UFP, one might think the underlying science is also known to the Argrathi, and they thus know exactly what sort of chemical obstacles to place in the path of a Federation memory-wiping specialist. That is, Bashir might face a series of booby traps that would wreak havoc with O'Brien's brain if the erasing of memories by the customary means were attempted.

On the other hand, perhaps the difficulty of erasure stems simply from the long duration of the experience. Possibly 24th century chemicals can erase a specific experience or memory by locating it temporally in the storage systems of the brain - but trying to erase 20 years' worth of memories without erasing too much of the person (say, everything from the preceding 40 years as well) is too much of a feat. Picard didn't have his Ressikan experience removed, either.

...Although that might have been more because he knew Crusher was a hopeless klutz with the memory broom (what, three disastrously failed attempts so far?) and Pulaski was nowhere to be found.

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Old June 3 2012, 08:58 PM   #5
Deranged Nasat
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Re: Chief's "Punishment" in Hard Time

naverhtrad wrote: View Post
That said, though, it strikes me that the point of prison is not necessarily just punishment but also rehabilitation and protecting the rest of society from potentially dangerous and anti-social people, so this strikes me as a pretty piss-poor substitute from the latter standpoint.
Surely the entire point of prison is rehabilitation and protecting the rest of society from potentially dangerous and anti-social people? Or at least it should be. If legal penalties don't serve those purposes, then something's gone very wrong. I imagine the Argrathi are a society who have lost sight of what prison is about and, wanting to avoid the costs of incarceration, have latched onto this "artificial memories of prison" as an alternative - ignoring the fact that they're presumably sending broken and traumatized criminals back out into society to cause trouble (to say nothing of broken and traumatized non-criminals, like O'Brien).

Also, a problem with cheaper, quicker alternatives like the artificial memories is that the urge and desire to use them as often as possible will be strong - if you have to house and care for a criminal for months or years, you might ask - does this really warrent a jail term? If you just spend two hours fiddling with their brain, it will just mean far more people being sentenced, because the costs are far lesser.
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Old June 3 2012, 09:59 PM   #6
Photon
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Re: Chief's "Punishment" in Hard Time

naverhtrad wrote: View Post
Timo wrote: View Post
As far as we can tell, it shares a central problem with death penalty: it's an awful lot of punishment dished out in one package and cannot be aborted or compensated for if the person being punished is later found to be not guilty after all.

Timo Saloniemi
That struck me as a bit strange, though, almost a point of plot convenience. If Federation medical technology has the ability to alter memory, even of lived experience (as they did with Kurn in 'Sons of Mogh', for example), why was Bashir having so much trouble removing the experiences of prison from O'Brien's mind?

That said, though, it strikes me that the point of prison is not necessarily just punishment but also rehabilitation and protecting the rest of society from potentially dangerous and anti-social people, so this strikes me as a pretty piss-poor substitute from the latter standpoint.
I bet if Chief and Bashir visited Romulus, that might take care of those pesky memory bugs
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Old June 3 2012, 10:24 PM   #7
sonak
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Re: Chief's "Punishment" in Hard Time

the punishment is much better for a potentially innocent person wrongly convicted-they don't lose the actual time from their lives that innocent prisoners actually lose. They just gain some unpleasant memories.

6 hours in a simulation is much better than 15 years stolen from your life.
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Old June 4 2012, 07:18 AM   #8
Timo
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Re: Chief's "Punishment" in Hard Time

Surely the entire point of prison is rehabilitation and protecting the rest of society from potentially dangerous and anti-social people?
That sort of sidesteps the important issue of deterrence. If jailing only affects the criminal being jailed, then it is not very efficient; indeed, if the criminal contribution of a single person did matter for some reason, then swift execution of the individual jaywalker would always be the best way to proceed (as certainly this single person would not be much missed in other respects, not enough to offset his curiously great contribution to crime). But the fear the other criminals out there feel when considering the possibility that they, too, might be tortured by freedom deprivation, is an important element in the policy of jailing, as it affects crime in a scale that actually makes a difference.

The virtual prison of "Hard Time" does not keep the single wrongdoer off the streets for any significant time, but it does appear to traumatize him into cessation of wrongdoing. The important thing, though, would be to pre-traumatize the potential wrongdoers outside the virtual prison into not living up to their criminal potential.

they don't lose the actual time from their lives that innocent prisoners actually lose. They just gain some unpleasant memories.
We don't know the specifics of the technique. Quite possibly, O'Brien's brain is now 20 years older and, to simplify a bit, will die 20 years sooner than otherwise, all other things being equal. The rest of his body did not appear to undergo physical aging (no hair or nail growth to match the virtual events), but that as such is no proof of anything much.

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Old June 5 2012, 04:14 PM   #9
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Re: Chief's "Punishment" in Hard Time

I wondered about that. Would he really die 20 years sooner? That sucks! Are you sure?

I was thinking that the Agrathi technique isn't really so bad and shouldn't work so well as a deterrent, at least among the Agrathi, if only because if you know it's not real, you'll go ahead and commit your crime, then wait it out in virtual prison and get on with your life afterward. I'm sure the fact that it seems real makes it traumatic, but it's not as bad as if you believe it's real.
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Old June 8 2012, 03:11 AM   #10
Ian Keldon
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Re: Chief's "Punishment" in Hard Time

As shown in the episode, there was no difference from O'Brian's perspective between "virtual" prison and real life. It was 100% real to him in all aspects. And his time was hard time. Ask anyone who has been or has read about someone who has been in a prison in a 2nd or 3rd World country about how harsh prisons can be.

Federation medical science MAY be able in theory to remove memories up to a point, but 20 years worth is a long time and a lot of memories.

We're not talking about what Crusher did with Sarjenka, which was remove at best a few hours or day's worth.
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Old June 8 2012, 04:02 AM   #11
UnknownSample
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Re: Chief's "Punishment" in Hard Time

The whole idea of this punishment is problematic. For most posters here, it seems that it's just a matter of implanted memories, but at some point early in the episode, someone explaining the procedure states that the prisoner actually passes through these experiences, in real time, though highly-sped up time. He doesn't just falsely remember experiences he never had... he DID experience each and every day of confinement, one by one.
I question whether erasing memories of traumatic experiences would erase the after-effects. One might still feel overwhelmed by... something he can't put his finger on. At least if you remember what traumatized you, you can think about it and learn to deal with it. The stuff still happened. I doubt the resulting feelings can be erased that easily.
As for rehabilitation being the most important goal, fine, but nobody knows how to rehabilitate criminals. Certainly this punishment doesn't rehabilitate... it may deter future crime, but it does this by breaking a human being, and that's nothing like rehabilitation.
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Old June 8 2012, 11:50 AM   #12
Timo
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Re: Chief's "Punishment" in Hard Time

nobody knows how to rehabilitate criminals
Except apparently the Federation, beginning with Dr. Adams (or possibly shortly before him).

We have heard of a number of criminals who have gone to brainwashing for their crimes, and none of them has turned out to be a repeat offender. What's more, none has turned out to be incapable of continuing his or her life. Harry Mudd is a great example of a person whose career of crime continues with full human vigor, yet we observe he never repeats an offense he has been treated for.

However, we have little idea of how this is accomplished, and whether it works well on nonhumans. Yet it was apparently done on Garak in the aftermath of "Broken Link", and he never reattempted genocide. It may have been done on him after "Empok Nor" as well for all we know.

It would be easy to see how curing the criminal would not satisfy the sense of justice on some cultures, say, the Klingon one. But if the UFP method works on generic humanoids, from human to Argrathi, it would appear to be a great export product, with the Argrathi quite possibly among the customers.

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Old June 9 2012, 04:48 AM   #13
UnknownSample
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Re: Chief's "Punishment" in Hard Time

Hmm. Well, Dr Adams (Dagger of the Mind, right?) hobbled minds, he didn't "heal" them. The blanker you are, the less will you have to misbehave, but this would come under the heading of breaking people, not rehabilitation. The writer may have been commenting on thorazine, which presents a similar problem, at least sometimes.
I've got a problem with blurring together criminality and mental disturbance. In Whom Gods Destroy there was a seemingly more benign version of the same chair/device, but I hope they only used such things on the criminally insane, rather than just plain criminals. The fact that very few criminals were supposed to exist in the 23rd century is, I hope, more a matter of people having been raised in a better environment, not lots and lots of chair-treatments on shoplifters, say.
Harry Mudd was "treated"? I don't remember that about Garak. I need to see it all again. After Empok Nor, I'd think eliminating the influence on him would have been enough. Garak, rehabilitated? He'd be no fun anymore...
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Old June 9 2012, 03:45 PM   #14
Timo
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Re: Chief's "Punishment" in Hard Time

Well, Dr Adams (Dagger of the Mind, right?) hobbled minds, he didn't "heal" them.
According to McCoy, the man did a lot of good work.

It's just that he was a perfectionist, so in addition to curing people, he also banged his head against a wall trying to cure incurables - which gave us Lethe and the misadventure with the torture chair.

Harry Mudd was "treated"?
That was mentioned in his criminal record in the introductory episode. Easy to miss.

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Old June 10 2012, 01:51 AM   #15
UnknownSample
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Re: Chief's "Punishment" in Hard Time

Timo wrote: View Post
Well, Dr Adams (Dagger of the Mind, right?) hobbled minds, he didn't "heal" them.
According to McCoy, the man did a lot of good work.

It's just that he was a perfectionist, so in addition to curing people, he also banged his head against a wall trying to cure incurables - which gave us Lethe and the misadventure with the torture chair.

Maybe, but I don't go for explanations of episodes which subtract meaning from them. A good man who just goes bad for unknown reasons isn't meaningful, and that makes no point. (And pressure from dealing with very hard cases isn't nearly enough of a reason, not to me anyway.) They weren't just cranking out entertainment then... they were trying to do something more than that.


A doctor or researcher can have a good reputation based on results which seem successful, but haven't been examined or questioned enough yet. McCoy may have heard good things about Adams, but we don't know what he heard or from whom.


At the least, this episode's about how total power over human beings, and being allowed to make your own rules, can corrupt and attract power freaks. The episode also seems to address criticism of psychiatry then and now, so specifically that it almost certainly isn't coincidence.


One of these is the fact that successes of psychiatry so often depend on the psychiatrist conveniently deciding what constitutes "success". Adams got results. Even after getting exposed by Kirk, by his own standards, his treatments worked, because violent cases stopped being violent. Never mind the quality of life and dignity lost by being made "blank"...


Good reputations can be made this way, and McCoy would have no reason to doubt the good things he'd heard about Adams.
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