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Crime and punishment for a race of supers

03 Jul 2022 06:48 #74885 by Thefirstone
Crime and punishment for a race of supers was created by Thefirstone
How would a society in which everyone has Kryptonian-level superpowers deal with criminals, if no prison could hold them?  (Assuming of course that things like red solar radiation wouldn’t apply).  If we still assume that imprisonment is ever necessary, I think a Dragon Ball Z-style gravity chamber cranked up high enough would work, but the first thing that came to mind would be that there would be more of a focus on either execution or rehabilitation, depending on the crime.

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03 Jul 2022 07:57 #74886 by Monty
Replied by Monty on topic Crime and punishment for a race of supers
It was touched on in TV's Supergirl (I know, bad show for the most part) where the DEO would place the rogue aliens in a containment facility with glass walls that would douse their powers to make them 'neutral'.
I prefer Ultra Lucille's version where she tells her sister 'Now, Nel there isn't a prison here on Earth that could possibly hold (the new) me. If only Lucille had finished the job herself...
 
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03 Jul 2022 08:43 #74887 by willow
Replied by willow on topic Crime and punishment for a race of supers
In theory, you could build a prison cell that emits low levels of Kryptonite to the people inside. Not enough to kill but just enough to weaken their powers and prevent escape.

However, if confinement is not possible because their powers cannot be suppressed, then a society of super-powered beings might take much harsher punishment even for minor crimes. Punishment where death sentences are more common because confining a criminal just is not possible.

Don't forget the concept of mental prisons. The criminal is confined by putting them to sleep or in some coma because their powers while awake would not allow them to be easily confined. However, their minds are active and living through some simulated virtual environment. Maybe this is experiencing a virtual prison like experience or they are forced to re-live their crimes from the perspective of the victims. Various sci-fi shows and books have played with this concept.
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03 Jul 2022 13:11 #74888 by cbaby
Replied by cbaby on topic Crime and punishment for a race of supers
I think we forget the power of social ostracism to keep people from doing a lot of the more minor crimes. This would probably be the only reasonable punishment for minor crimes in this scenario.

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03 Jul 2022 17:45 #74895 by AUphoric
Replied by AUphoric on topic Crime and punishment for a race of supers
From Krypton itself, you've got the Phantom Zone. As long as its intersection with our reality isn't cracked open by a nuclear bomb or a wandering spaceship, depending on which version you like for how those criminals arrived to do evil on Earth.
If the criminals have some kind of weakness, the rest of society will try to use it to keep them down. Or there might be a yet superior race of even more super beings, or gods, that impose their own rules and sentences. Without that, you soon have the horror of unstoppable super villians who get away with whatever they want, as in "The Boys."
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04 Jul 2022 09:21 #74919 by willow
Replied by willow on topic Crime and punishment for a race of supers

From Krypton itself, you've got the Phantom Zone. As long as its intersection with our reality isn't cracked open by a nuclear bomb or a wandering spaceship, depending on which version you like for how those criminals arrived to do evil on Earth.
 
Phantom Zone always reminds me of that Simpsons clip where they discover an inter-dimensional portal at their home. Homer throws some junk into the portal and the people on the other side throw back a note saying "Please stop throwing your trash into our dimension."
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04 Jul 2022 15:56 #74927 by YAGS

Phantom Zone always reminds me of that Simpsons clip where they discover an inter-dimensional portal at their home. Homer throws some junk into the portal and the people on the other side throw back a note saying "Please stop throwing your trash into our dimension."

 
Now you're reminding me of the pilot episode of Stargate SG-1, when they tossed a box of tissues into the Stargate.

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04 Jul 2022 16:42 - 04 Jul 2022 16:44 #74931 by slim36
Replied by slim36 on topic Crime and punishment for a race of supers
If the superpowers were fueled by a separate organ, say a super-liver, this could be removed from super convicts. Females might have 2 more of the super energy storage units.  Not sure if this would result in death or if they still had a regular liver that could store biochemical energy like normals.   As compensation to crime victims the super liver cells could be repackaged and sold as power cells.  The variable super liver cell flashlight that adjusts from a dim nightlight that lasts for 50 years to a spot light and at maximum a disintegrator beam for about a minute, or a single explosion that just leaves a crater.  Larger power cells could power villages or vehicles, possibly even space travel if the donors had that much power..
A less gruesome method would not involve surgery and just have external power transfer through a device similar to an electric chair that could remove the super powers and harness them elsewhere.   That might be like a prison sentence - prisoner is sentenced to provide electric power for the term of their sentence.   They could also do that by pumping water uphill into a hydropower reservoir or providing heat to replace fuel in a power plant.  Not sure how they would be made to stay focused on their task if they stay had their superpowers.  Removal of superpowers would be humbling and might be punishment enough especially if they could be left weaker than a normal human and a compromised immune system.   Not only are they weak but also feeling sick with allergies, colds and unfamiliar aches, pains and accidental cuts and bruises.  Also subject to aging and subject to bullying by all the formerly weaker supers thay had made enemies.
Last edit: 04 Jul 2022 16:44 by slim36. Reason: typo
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06 Jul 2022 03:12 #74941 by AUphoric
Replied by AUphoric on topic Crime and punishment for a race of supers

If the superpowers were fueled by a separate organ, say a super-liver, this could be removed from super convicts. Females might have 2 more of the super energy storage units.
 
Aurora Universe has a separate organ for flight in Supremis. Women have one behind each breast, providing the expandable orgone energy storage. Men have one behind the sternum. Some Supremis don't have these organs, therefore can't fly, but are otherwise healthy and have oher superpowers. I don't think I've seen any AU stories of these being surgically removed. It could be a gory addition to the occasional vampires-in-the-AU story.

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06 Jul 2022 03:14 #74942 by AUphoric
Replied by AUphoric on topic Crime and punishment for a race of supers

I think we forget the power of social ostracism to keep people from doing a lot of the more minor crimes. This would probably be the only reasonable punishment for minor crimes in this scenario.
 
True, but wouldn't help against major crimes. After all, antisocial people don't care about society's disapproval.
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06 Jul 2022 03:21 #74943 by AUphoric
Replied by AUphoric on topic Crime and punishment for a race of supers

they are forced to re-live their crimes from the perspective of the victims.
 
Some religious teachings say this happens in a Life Review after death. Not just crimes, but all our actions perceived from the point of view the others affected. SF show could have psionic aliens that impose this on criminals while still alive. Has that particular twist been done? It feels like a good fit for the original Star Trek.

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06 Jul 2022 04:21 #74948 by YAGS

they are forced to re-live their crimes from the perspective of the victims.

 

Some religious teachings say this happens in a Life Review after death. Not just crimes, but all our actions perceived from the point of view the others affected. SF show could have psionic aliens that impose this on criminals while still alive. Has that particular twist been done? It feels like a good fit for the original Star Trek.


I know it was done in episodes of both Stargate: SG-1 and Star Trek: Voyager. In both cases, main characters were accused of murder and forcibly implanted with memories of the crime, while their teammates had to prove their innocence and fight to get the memories removed. 

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06 Jul 2022 08:10 #74952 by Woodclaw
Replied by Woodclaw on topic Crime and punishment for a race of supers

Some religious teachings say this happens in a Life Review after death. Not just crimes, but all our actions perceived from the point of view the others affected. SF show could have psionic aliens that impose this on criminals while still alive. Has that particular twist been done? It feels like a good fit for the original Star Trek.
 
There is a DS9 episode ( Hard Times ) where Miles O'Brien is accused of a crime he didn't commit and senteced to twenty years in prison. In actual fact, the species that judged him don't have prisons anymore, they merely implant memories of years of prison to the convict and let him go free in a matter of hours, certain that the trauma of these fake memories would act as a deterrent.

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06 Jul 2022 21:44 - 07 Jul 2022 00:25 #74958 by Jabbrwock
Replied by Jabbrwock on topic Crime and punishment for a race of supers
The death penalty will make a big comeback if prison is not a practical or even possible solution. We didn't cut off nearly all executions because we're better or kinder than past generations, we ended executions because we *COULD*. Because we have such an abundance of wealth in our society that we can afford to imprison our worst criminals at ruinous expense instead of killing them.

If we couldn't afford it, we wouldn't do it. No society has ever done something it couldn't afford to do just because it was "right." So if the cost of having a prosperous society is that all but the most petty law-breakers are executed on the spot when caught because everybody is so powerful they can wreck massive amounts of valuable infrastructure and private property on a whim and cannot be stopped any other way, that's what would happen.

That said, fines, various forms of compelled service, shunning, and other less severe punishments would also have a place in such a society. Only those who have proven to not care about their place in society would be removed from it in such a permanent way.

Edit: I forgot the likely and grim possibility of exile. A world of super-beings that sends their criminals out into the rest of the universe would be profoundly bad neighbors for everybody else.
Last edit: 07 Jul 2022 00:25 by Jabbrwock.

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07 Jul 2022 16:27 #74976 by slim36
Replied by slim36 on topic Crime and punishment for a race of supers
The implanted guilt trips maybe with PTSD boosters. Could be like the remedy for "ultraviolence" from Clockwork Orange. Anytime they consider their previous acts they become ill..

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07 Jul 2022 16:45 #74978 by shadar
Replied by shadar on topic Crime and punishment for a race of supers
Something like the Phantom Zone makes more sense than anything else. 

Especially given that prison doesn't work even for humans. Unless you are locking bad guys up forever, what comes out of prison is often worse than what went in. Not saying that rehabilitation doesn't happen, but not nearly as often as we'd like. 

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07 Jul 2022 18:40 #74983 by slim36
Replied by slim36 on topic Crime and punishment for a race of supers
Studies of recidivism show many jailed end up returning within a few years.  There are some notable success stories like the Machete star, who got lucky and got picked out to act as a criminal.   There's  a famous TV home and cooking show host that did her time and is back on TV.   It helps if you are wealthy.   Many are less fortunate if they come out marked as damaged goods.  Phantom zone could be similar to former penal colonies like Australia.
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07 Jul 2022 23:00 #74989 by shadar
Replied by shadar on topic Crime and punishment for a race of supers

Studies of recidivism show many jailed end up returning within a few years.  There are some notable success stories like the Machete star, who got lucky and got picked out to act as a criminal.   There's  a famous TV home and cooking show host that did her time and is back on TV.   It helps if you are wealthy.   Many are less fortunate if they come out marked as damaged goods.  Phantom zone could be similar to former penal colonies like Australia.
Agree… and when you combine that with superhumans, the likelihood that supervillains turn into superheroes is even more unlikely because of the corruption of power. Once you have evil power, you can’t let it go.

In a story I’ve been working on for years, I postulate that there are only so many souls in the universe that keep getting reborn, and a soul brings their good or their bad tendencies with them into a new life. Except those that go into the Zone of Lost Souls, which extinguishes them, never to be reborn again. That’s a good method of punishment for a supervillain in my book.

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07 Jul 2022 23:24 #74990 by slim36
Replied by slim36 on topic Crime and punishment for a race of supers
There's the ground hog day or Edge of Tomorrow premise, where the players have to keep trying until they pass the test.

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08 Jul 2022 11:45 #74995 by Woodclaw
Replied by Woodclaw on topic Crime and punishment for a race of supers

Studies of recidivism show many jailed end up returning within a few years.  There are some notable success stories like the Machete star, who got lucky and got picked out to act as a criminal.   There's  a famous TV home and cooking show host that did her time and is back on TV.   It helps if you are wealthy.   Many are less fortunate if they come out marked as damaged goods.  Phantom zone could be similar to former penal colonies like Australia.
DC comics did something like this with the Salvation Run limited series, needless to say it went incredibly bad.

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