Disclaimer: I’m no expert. Which is why, perhaps, the following proposal might be worthy of some mind-space.
One of the aims of this blog is to invert irresolvable problems, for humourous excursions, and for the (remote) possibility of a Eureka-moment.
The world’s Prison Problem is one such that merits some attention.
Roughly 10 million humans call the prison their homes, around the world. At a median cost of approximately $20,000 per prisoner, a guesstimate of the total cost of supporting prison operations works out to an eye-popping $200 billion per year.
A rather wasteful means of deploying scarce capital.
With the arrival of the economic crisis, attention veered to this huge number. As governments grappled with reducing avenues for revenue, there was agreement that prison expenditure needed to be slashed.
Criminology experts have been propounding solutions that broadly fall under the following: (a) keeping low-level offenders off jails, (b) suggesting community orders as a quid pro quo for prison trials, (c) expediting the trial process, (d) private prisons. Sound solutions each of these, with their pros and cons, but none have managed to drastically reduce cost of prison operations.
Consensus exists when it comes to the worst offenders. They are a threat to society, humans, and sometimes, animal citizenry too. This lot is often seen claiming that their destitution inhibits restitution, of past offences. Their devolution into the world of crime is generally assumed to be irreversible, as is successful rehabilitation. On the other hand, the young offenders – first-time pilferers, house-burglars, street muggers, drug paddlers and their ilk – are in early stages of evolving into a full-blown societal menace. These could be arrested – punnily not literally, of course – first.
Here’s a solution. The Tequila Shot Deal.
Offenders could be offered a simple either/or proposition.
(A) A session of 100-shot tequila, to be downed in one sitting. The offenders could be intimated that a 100-shot tequila, taken in one sitting, could successfully take Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) over the fatality barrier.
(B) Returning to society and behaving responsibly. As an added gesture of benevolence and goodwill, each potential prisoner could be offered a one-time incentive payment of $10,000. This would buy them the time they would need to find a means of leading a life of normalcy and boredom (a.k.a Employment). Repeat offenders would be offered the 100-shot tequila session sans the goodwill handout. Yet repeat offenders could eventually be encouraged to take the 100-shot session, which would be the only option on the menu.
The implicit threat of fatality offered with civility would dissuade most from entertaining the idea of opting for crime as a career option.
Assuming a typical tequila shot costs $10, a 100-shot sitting would cost $1,000 per potential prisoner. Extending this civil deal to 10 million inmates would cost $10 billion. The $10,000 handout per miscreant would add $100 billion to this bill. Summing the two, we arrive at $110 billion, a near 50% reduction to existing cost of operations. A one-time amnesty could be offered to the existing 10 million prison inmates, which would cost a one-time $100 billion. Over a 20-year time frame, the Tequila Shot Deal has the potential to lead to significant savings.
This significant cost reduction would allow leeway to finance tequila shots for repeat offenders, leaving a good chunk of capital to be directed towards more productive arenas.
The Deal’s appeal to would-be prisoners is straightforward. Indeed, many might be encouraged to take the handout with a minor violation. This would be welcome, as the civil threat of eventual extermination by drinking, combined with the one-off nature of the handout, would dissuade most from pushing their luck too far. For those who do, it would be a civil goodbye gesture.
The tax-paying lot would welcome this solution, for obvious reasons.
Politicians would be grateful too. They would have hit upon a means of reducing prison inmate count and simultaneously slashing expenditure; the perfect message for electoral campaigns. As grateful beneficiaries of the handout, potential politicians, who often begin their journey in the world of crime, would be the scheme’s devout promoters.
One may also see tequila manufacturers nodding in approval.
Any solution that appeals to capitalists and haters of capitalism is something that merits some attention!