What if “life in prison” could mean 100 or 200 or 400 years? Does that change the way that sentences are doled out? What happens when a person gets out of prison?
This is a fascinating — and super-topical — idea for a TV show. When the U.S. prison population gets too huge, we buy Greenland and turn it into a ginormous co-ed prison where people can supposedly win their freedom. That's the premise of 51st State, a show in development now for Syfy.
There is perhaps nothing more poignant than an abandoned prison. When you see these haunting images, it's hard not to imagine what once went on in these now-crumbling rooms.
To virtually no one's surprise, scientists are increasingly finding that solitary confinement induces a host of psychological and physiological problems in prisoners. The time has come, say a growing number of concerned citizens, to call it for what it really is: Torture.
During the Victorian era, kids as young as eleven received adult sentences for minor crimes. Here's an assortment of children's mugshots taken in Newcastle, England during the early 1870s. If some of them weren't labeled "PHOTOGRAPH OF PRISONER," you might mistake these portraits for yearbook photos.
The State of New York is hoping to sell its old prisons. "One property, in the Hudson Valley, includes a 16-car garage, a piggery and hundreds of yards of lake frontage," the New York Times explains. "Another offers 69 acres of waterfront land on the west shore of Staten Island, complete with a two-story gymnasium, a…
To round out their drug-sniffing clone dog army, South Korean authorities are now experimenting with robotic prison guards. Lest you think these cyber-wardens will be equipped with gatling guns in the style of Robocop's ED-209, know that this alarm-equipped bot has more in common with the Death Star's delivery droids.
Space prisons are a huge part of science fiction, because eventually we'll run out of places on Earth to put our worst criminals. Mass Effect 2 features a prison ship. And this Friday sees the release of Lockout, in which a snarky hero goes inside a maximum-security satellite to rescue the President's daughter.
Now that J.J. Abrams' time-traveling prisoner series Alcatraz is locked in for Fridays next fall, let's take a look at the show's abandoned penitentiary setting, which has since been turned into a tourist attraction after closing in 1963.
Over at The Innocent Flower, a prison librarian named Emily is talking about how important the library at her prison is for prisoners. And she says the male prisoners especially love science fiction and fantasy books:
This is no ordinary padded room — it's 1,600 cotton candy cones strung together to form a prison of pleasure.
Street artist Dan Witz glues disturbing portraiture to highway walls. The result? Blink-and-you'll-miss-them prison cells that leave drivers wondering what they just saw. In the future, they'll build these for motorists who abuse the carpool lane.
Science fiction imagines strange and wondrous cities in our future, but many are less paradise than prison. We take an ill-advised vacation inside the cities that will never let you leave.