Prisons are supposed to be a punishment for the lawbreakers, but facts speak for themselves:
homeless people sometimes do a crime just to be sent to prison where they will have 3 meals a day and a warm shelter
famous people, politicians, tax offenders, and similar often experience milder sentences (TV, 3 meals a day, personal service)
prison guards often accept bribes, sexual favors to smuggle weapons and other items
some countries have problems with handling a huge number of offenders
offenders are often put all together without proper categorization and consequently, you have a serial killer and a shoplifter sentenced under the same imprisonment conditions
My idea is to remove the human factor from the prisons. Police would drop off a person inside an entrance room and everything else is on the prison AI. On the one hand, some experts say that inmate relations with guards have a positive effect on an individual's rehabilitation . On the other hand, humans take bribes, smuggle weapons, talk, give information, favor and act biased accordingly, and prisoners often communicate with the outside world with guards as middlemen. What if we built an AI-guided prison/detention center?
The prison system would be divided in three main systems:
The Prisioner Care
This segment of a system would take care of the incoming prisoners. It would scan all the prisioners's files, social networks, the internet and other sources to gather all the information needed for the proper categorization. It would even send email to ask hospitals, companies and other facilities for the missing data. The prisoner would then be categorized and put under the appropriate individually-talored detention program. Depending on the type of the program, the serial killer would be completely cut out of the world, while a student shoplifter would be allowed to continue the education under the restricted terms. The same part of the system would keep track of the prisioner's health, behaviour, improvement and release dates. It would communicate with the prisoner according to the program, to speed up the rehabilitation.
This is the part where many psychologists, doctors, lawyers and other professionals would help to taylor the best approach to achieve maximum recovery, while not breaking any human rights. The prison shouldn't be a general imprisonment facility, but a dynamically changing recovery environment tailored to an individual.
The Internal and External Security
In this part of the system, we would see the biggest difference compared to the existing prisons. With no guards and fully automatic facility, there would be no room for mistakes. The building would be designed to allow free movement of the prisoners, by keeping them safe at all times. If a car can drive alone in busy streets, several hundred cameras, sensors and automatic doors can keep the prison safe and sound.
The special segment of security would be dedicated towards the external threats such as cyber attacks or physical intruders trying to invade.
The Kitchen, Services and Maintenance
Third part of the system would take care of water, meal preferences, sewage (faeces) and maintenance of the prison facility. When the system detects a broken pipe, it automatically find a solution. If no solution is available before the prisioner's human rights are disturbed, human factor jumps in.
The Architectural Solution
As many experts already discussed , new architectural solution would be required, especially in the case of the high-tech facility like proposed above.
I imagine a skyscraper prison with an entrance room, kitchen, many floors with cubical cells with or without windows and integrated system/server all over the building. It would have multiple cores, back-up servers and fully automated meal delivery. Communication with the outside world or the inmates would be allowed only through the screen inside the cell, which would also wake up the prisoners, guide the workouts and therapies, show statistics, etc.
What are the benefits?
Less space, more security, better categorization of the prisoners, controlled personalized cell environment according to the punishment, personalized approach towards each prisioner and consequently, better rehabilitation efficiency.
What do you think?
What could be the biggest problem of the proposed detention center?
How could we ensure that people DON'T LIKE this prison, but benefit from it?
Perhaps another way to integrate technology into correctional systems would be through VR.
If the technology advances far enough (it seems to be on track to getting there soon) prisoners would be able to serve their sentences in isolation without experiencing the negative psychological effects.
There might even be an argument that spending more time in an idyllic virtual reality could be better for their rehabilitation than spending every day in the dreary, cold confinements of prison. I realize that prison is not intended to feel like a holiday, I'm just suggesting that a more positive environment could aid rehabilitation.
The problems I foresee with this idea are:
The cost of the technology to the state. One would have to think that an investment like this would be more justifiable in schools, hospitals or old-age homes.
Prisoners are often not in the mental state to be able to think of what benefits them, they might just break the hardware or even use it as weapons.
They would still require the same amount of space and time for exercise, so even if everyone was kept in solitary for most of the day, they would need to be able to move around at some point.