This Is What Prison Will Be Like In 2119


The year is 2119 and you’ve just been sentenced
to 10 years for stealing someone’s personal air vehicle, aka, flying car. Now let’s try and imagine what kind of punishment
the authorities might meter out. Maybe you’ll be sent to a penal colony,
except this colony is on Mars and there you’ll be doing hard labor since there’s a lot
of work to be done up there. Or perhaps you’ll be cryogenically frozen,
and kept that way for 10 years. Think about it, this is one way to remove
a menace to society and when they are awakened it’s unlikely they’ll want to go to sleep
again. They won’t have aged, so you could say it’s
a humane way to punish someone. As you know if you watch any of our medieval
torture videos, the way we punish people has evolved over time. Back in the day you could say humans were
quite brutal, and for even small infractions a person might be beaten, whipped, branded,
or even blinded. For the bigger crimes someone might have been
burned at the stake, crucified, broken on the rack, pulverized on the wheel, or had
their limbs pulled off. We put an end to that kind of thing for the
most part but then sentenced people to hard labor, the kind of labor someone was lucky
to survive. At the moment, most countries use incarceration,
we simply deny a person his or her freedom. Some justice systems are more progressive
than others, i.e. some countries focus more on rehabilitation than mere segregation from
society, but we have been stuck with putting people behind bars for quite some time. History tells us that how we punish will evolve
again, and the prisons of the future will be very different from how they are today. There is a lot of information out there regarding
what we call prison reform. You can find certain groups applauding prisons
in Norway, where inmates in one prison we saw are housed in cells that look more like
apartments. Prisoners are treated well, eat well, can
be educated and have fulfilling jobs while on the inside. Some of them even have access to Facebook
or YouTube, so they could be watching this show. Norway also has a very low recidivism rate,
meaning prisoners tend not to commit a crime again once they are released. They are, in many cases, rehabilitated. You can also find critics of the current system
saying many prisoners are actually mentally ill and need to be treated rather than locked
in a box, while a lot of progressive voices tell us non-violent drug users shouldn’t
be locked up because they bought their day’s supply on the street and got frisked on the
way home. We will go out on a limb and say many countries
around the world will soon begin to take a more progressive approach to why and how we
lock people up. Come 2119 our views on this will have progressed
a lot more, and we really can’t say how. We do imagine, though, that prison will be
less about punishment and more about rehabilitation. That said, there will always be nasty people
in the world that we don’t want on our streets. There will always be scammers who delight
in taking people’s life savings; there will always be people with sadistic impulses that
do things to others that make our stomachs churn. We can also say there will likely be people
that defy rehabilitation and keep reoffending. Perhaps these people will be punished in a
way that right now we see as futuristic. As we said, perhaps one kind of punishment
to take people off the streets but not really harm them is to freeze them in time. It’s painless for the prisoner and it serves
society to have them gone for a while. Is it humane? Well, you can tell us what you think about
that later. First of all, when we talk about freezing
the body these days we mean after we die and we call this “Cryonics.” The website Cryonics.org tells us people who’ve
been “cryopreserved” might be revived or reanimated in the future when technologies
have improved. Those technologies might be related to the
fields of 3-D printing, stem cell research, nanotechnology and molecular biology. Lots of people have opted to be cryopreserved
around the world, with about 250 people already in the deep-freeze and another 1,500 signed
up for it. No mammal to this date has ever been reanimated
fully after being totally frozen. Cryonics.org tells us, “Although, a whole
mammal has not yet been cryopreserved to cryogenic temperatures and revived, science is moving
in that direction.” How much does it cost? One of the main places to get this done is
the Alcor Life Extension Foundation in the USA and the total cost could be around $80,000
– $200,000 depending on various factors. The Cryonics Institute will do a full-body
freeze for as cheap as $28,000, although for that it seems you don’t get regular attention. You are merely stored. It seems if you get this done in Russia the
cost can be as low as $12,000. To do this, though, you have to be legally
dead. Cryonics advocates hope that this will change,
because they believe someone who is terminally ill could be frozen and then brought back
to life when medical technology can easily cure them. With prisoners of course, they could be frozen
when in good health. Right now this is the stuff of science fiction. There is no real foundation at this time to
say it can be done, but we don’t know how technology will improve. It wouldn’t be absolutely wild to imagine
a future when this is possible. It’s speculation right now, though, not
based on actual science, and that’s why right now some people who believe in it are
sometimes called “kooks.” For one thing, the detractors say, the body
after being frozen will be just too damaged to ever be revived. It’s a matter of fact that when ice builds
up in human cells it can destroy those cells. Maybe with the help of nanotechnology cells
can be brought back to room temperature safely, but right now that’s a long shot. That said, if you could go back in time, say
200 years ago, and ask a scientist what he or she thinks about some present day technologies
they might say “not a chance”, “don’t be silly.” We just don’t know what’s ahead of us. If humans have avoided global catastrophe
come 2119 and have in fact progressed as a species, maybe they will watch this clip and
say, “Oh boy, you really had no idea what was coming.” What about Mars as a penal colony, a bit like
Australia was in the past? Well, it’s unlikely right now as just to
put a person in space costs millions of dollars. That may all change come 2119, though, but
even if great breakthroughs in space travel do happen will we send prisoners to the new
home? You might have heard tech wizard Elon Musk
say that a place to live on Mars, called “Mars Base Alpha”, could be built by 2028. But he’s not talking about a place anyone
can live, replete with dollar stores and fast-food restaurants, he’s talking about a place
a highly trained astronaut could visit for an astronomical- pun fully intended- amount
of money. Even if they did get there by 2028, there
is no way we’d be sending prisoners up there for a long, long time. Even if we could send prisoners to Mars, it
would be an ethical minefield. If they’d be doing all the dangerous jobs
and still be confined in some ways, as we said already this kind of punishment is outdated
and seen as cruel and inhumane. With presents changes in mind, if we did send
prisoners to Mars it would only be if they lived in good conditions and were trained
to do useful jobs in which their safety was paramount. Still, because of how extremely difficult
it would be not just to get to Mars, land on it, build on it, and live safely on it,
we don’t even think 2119 is far away enough to be putting prisoners up there. We just cannot see that happening. We do see prison populations being reduced
in the near future and countries figuring our better ways to rehabilitate rather than
just lock people up for them to come out no better or even worse. In the distant future, though, maybe we will
freeze people in time when the powers that be see no way in changing their ways. How do you think prisons in the future will
look? Will we value rehabilitation over punishment? Tell us in the comments. And check out the brand new channel called
“I Am.” Real stories come to life as they’re told
from the perspective of the people who lived it. Watch “I Am a Plague Doctor” right now
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