Society has to be protected, everyone agrees with that, and so we built the prisons.
Prisons, to house the criminal element behind high, stone walls, where they’d be kept from the decent, law abiding citizens of our great land, and where they wouldn’t be allowed to sow their seeds of discord, never again endangering either the people of our great nation or their children.
Finally, we’d begun to think about the children.
High tech prisons we built, with state of the art security systems, foolproof lockdown procedures and ostentatiously positioned surveillance cameras, reminding everyone inside that some remote, unknowable force was watching their every move.
By doing this, we hoped to separate the convicted from their shared sense of humanity, to grind down their spirits and leave them bereft both of hope and of any sense that they deserved better. Also, we thought it might reduce violence.
The prisons were built, and they stood as a testament to our commitment to maintaining an orderly society, one in which crime would never pay and criminals never go unpunished.
And we looked upon our works, and we were proud. A series of state of the art prisons, in every major city, from one ocean to the next, capable of containing and restraining scum numbering in the tens of thousands, without any hope of their escape. Indeed, we had much to be proud of.
They were huge, the prisons we built, dauntingly huge, and the crime rates were lower at the time than they’d been in decades, but we weren’t worried about any of that.
The prisons would never go empty as long as men could pass laws to fill them…