Are prisons consistent with Voluntaryism at all?

9/21/14
The full context of this question is actually as follows:

 

"Are prisons consistent with Voluntaryism at all? I would not claim to know if prisons would even exist at all in stateless society however I believe a reasonable conclusion can be made that sending someone to a rape cage for possessing an unauthorized flower/leaf is not only a waste of human capital and stolen taxpayer funds, but it is also supremely barbaric and savage.

Even the term "correctional facility" is a misnomer since it is mostly ex-convicts who typically end up going back to a cage for a repeat offense. There is no "correction" in their behavior whatsoever. I believe for the same way a rape cage does not reform an adult's actions, spanking and corporal punishment does not reform a child's actions.

Prison can be comparable to spanking and corporal punishment. Perhaps psychological counseling/shamanism would be comparable to peaceful parenting. If we truly want to see a better individual we must take the time to examine the root causes of certain behaviors. Only in this way can a profound improvement occur."

 

 

While I do not disagree with the last two sentences of the question, I'm interested in only answering the first sentence, the actual question being asked; well, the sentiment of the question anyway.

 

So in a voluntaryist society would prisons still exist?

 

I answer yes.  I also would venture to answer that such facilities might not be the norm for doling out justice.  In fact I'm almost 100 percent certain that prisons will probably be substantially less popular means for doling out justice.  The more popular method will likely be servitude in some fashion.  In other words…

 

Slavery in some form will make a big come back in a voluntaryist / anarcho-capitalist society!

 

Yes, that is a bold statement and it is one that I will defend, until my death.  Here is why:

 

Under a system where people are punished for stealing, destruction of property, or other unwarranted acts of aggression against others the crime is punished with a term of greatly restricted freedom.  Can that 'reform' the individual guilty of committing acts of aggression outside of the realm of self defense?  Yes!  But truthfully there is no absolute promise that all attempts to reform behavior will work all the time, or at all. So when reforming the unwarranted aggressor is not a guarantee we can ensure that the victim receives justice!

 

Unfortunately, for most victims, regardless of whether or not their assailants are punished with prison terms, do not actually recover what it is that was lost to them entirely.  Even if the unwarranted act of aggression was a theft and the stolen item(s) were returned intact and in the exact same condition as confiscated in there is the lost time which results in the possibility of other wealth not being created (time, intellect, and labor refined to produce that which is necessary to satisfy one or more of the basics of life; sustenance, shelter, security, and happiness) and of course the likelihood of unnecessary suffering, despair.

 

"But if the victim had insurance to replace the items if not recovered then all is okay!"

 

Almost, if insurance companies also provided some kind of compensation for the unnecessary suffering too!  And even if they had then the insurance company would want to find a way to be compensated for having to pay that; especially if that expenditure deducted significantly from its bottom line that is not covered by customer contracts.  Remember that insurance companies make money by paying out less than they take in generally and it is to their benefit to not have to pay out while abiding by their contracts.

 

(And no I am not getting into the fraud of such companies in this piece as it typically is permitted by various legalities propped up by government in the first place; i.e. corporations being granted special protections from legalities for wrong doing.)

 

In that case the insurance company would need to find a way to extract wealth from the aggressor.  Beneath, what I would venture to suggest would be, at least 99% of the governments of earth such activity is not permitted as it conflicts with the governments' monopoly on legalized use of aggression outside of the realm of self defense; hence why very few insurance companies tend to provide compensation for unnecessary suffering above the value of the physical damage done.  (I don't know all there is to know concerning what businesses exists that do what and when and where they do it but I don't find many advertisements for businesses that do this very thing either!)

 

But for the sake of argument let's just say that a business does precisely this.  That additional expenditure, in addition to the cost of the victim's lost / destroyed property which could be dozens of times the cost of the victim's monthly premium to the insurance company, needs to be recovered.  Putting the aggressor in a prison as we typically understand them today doesn't recoup the costs of the company; but putting chains on him / her and tasking them to create real wealth that can be used to compensate the business insuring the victim can and will!

 

The aggressor can be tasked, at gun point, to labor to create items of value that can be sold to benefit the business, or the victim pending other scenarios, until the costs incurred by the business, up to and including the costs required to maintain the aggressor are paid for.  Could this be expensive?  Yes!

 

But it could also be beneficial!  It is entirely possible that the insurance company loses on this deal.  We can never know all the variables that can come into play.  What we do know is that most people can be reasoned with.

 

If the reputation of an individual or a business is highly respected then caught criminals may very well just decide to do their terms of labor and be done with it.  Of course if the opposite is true, well…  It's not difficult to guess what might happen.

 

So what about prisons?  There are a number of people who would probably still want to keep their aggressors behind bars.  Many people prefer such justice to direct compensation from their assailants.  Their aggressors will be put into confines but it would be expensive.  Without a government to tax the citizenry to subsidize such facilities the businesses that would grow to hold such people might not be able to sustain themselves for long, thus letting too many go to cut costs.

 

Here I suspect that the prisons will likely put their captives to work as well.  It's nothing short of slavery either way since caught criminals probably will object to their sentences; but it's better than killing them, right?  (Maybe…but I might answer that another time.)

 

So could prisons operate in a voluntaryist society?  Yes.  How and under what criteria they will operate will be another story, probably.  However, as I explained, they probably won't operate nearly exclusively as they do now concerning justice.  Because a voluntaryist society is one that respects consent which leads to the reverence of voluntary interactions-which of course translates into economic exchanges many times-the maintenance of prison facilities in conjunction with private arbitration and protection services is absolutely a guarantee to happen in some fashion. 

 

Just as peaceful abolitionists couldn't necessary fathom that giant green machines with 'John Deer' printed on their sides would be planting, picking, and refining the cotton 250 years later making slavery as they knew it obsolete, today we probably won't know the details until it happens.  We can only speculate.

 

-JLD

 

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