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Looking to the Future – Justice

The next article in our series ‘Looking to the Future‘ is Justice.

After an event society will be closer to the Wild West than modern times. Our Justice system will be in the same state as well and miscarriages of Justice will be frequent with the punishment brutal. I don’t think there is going to be much that we can do about this although we can try our best to introduce Justice and not be swept away by the mob.

I’m a Libertarian at heart and this allows for some simple rules;

  • I don’t believe in the death penalty because there is no way to fix any wrongful convictions
  • I don’t believe in punishing people where they do no harm to others
  • The punishment should be linked to the crime
  • The law should apply to all equally

For some time after an event we will not have a functioning Justice system. There will be no investigations, crime scene analysis or forensics of any kind. There will be many injustices carried out. The Death Penalty will apply for many things currently thought trivial and criminals will think nothing of using lethal force to acquire the most insignificant items or avenge minor slights. A bit like someplaces in inner London atm.

One of the quickest ways to get on the right track is to implement a decent Justice system. Nothing like the joke we have now where innocent people end up behind bars for the slightest thing and the state makes laws based on mob rule and loud mouth puritans. We need one where the laws are seen to be fair and the punishment suits the crime. They should cover the main areas only and no more. I see the following areas as the areas to be covered;

  • Violence
  • Theft
  • Trespass

I believe everything we worry about should be covered there. Murder is clearly violence, Theft can cover land, goods and other properties which basically leaves us trespass which is really only there to offer a level of security and protection.

To perform an act of violence on another is clearly a crime. One that is difficult to put a price on. After all how much is a cut, a broken bone, a rape or a murder? So we normally equate these will some form of punishment which at the extreme end is Death. The only problem is that we will not have the facilities to hold people long term. Most places won’t have facilities to hold people at all. So what do you do? In other countries or in other times we tend to go overboard simply killing people or chopping off body parts. I hope we do not look to that as a solution. The only way therefore is for us to reserve the death penalty for murder whilst we also fund a jail. How we will go about that would be interesting as it should be a community project although I doubt it would be the first one that came along.

Obviously there would be a court of several citizens. Some sort of jury selection on a random basis, a prosecutor, a defender and away you go with each side giving their story. Guilty or Not Guilty. Then of course comes the punishment which is worked out by everyone interested.

I believe we should make a list of offences and put a defined punishment by each one. Thus a broken arm was a fixed fine of X. With a running tally starting at the serious offences and working your way down. Thus broken arm, bruises and a black eye. Now the escalation, after the first item you add an escalator say 5%. So the second items is Y * 1.05, the third item is Z * 1.1 and so on. Thus raising the punishment. This gives a total and then you add another fudge factor for previous convictions. Thus if this was his first conviction you would add nothing. If it was his second you would double the punishment, third you would quadruple and so on. This would increase the punishment for multiple offenders yet still not put someone away for life if the fourth offence was just a slap or the theft of an apple. Then apply to all who are found guilty regardless of the situation. Justice being blind is a great equaliser.

Punishment could be any or all of Capital Punishment (Death), Prison, Corporal Punishment or a fine. All decided by the group.

This could give a jail sentence plus corporal punishment plus a fine. If the fine is not paid then translate each X value to a day in jail, rounding up. This time is served first. If the complete fine is paid later then the jail time used to replace the fine can be stopped and any jail sentence started. Fines cannot replace jail time though.

My jails would also be relatively cheap. The main cost would be the labour to run them. Perhaps this could be someone who cannot work in the fields who can earn their keep this way. They also would not be the cushy numbers we have now with TVs and conjugal rights. Mine would be simple holes in the ground with basic food passed down, waste brought up and little else till they serve their full sentence. Time added on for any issues. (I’ve been told that may need a bit of refinement but so far I’m fine with it.)

An easy one there. Take the cost of the items, any damage caused in its acquisition plus costs involved in its recovery and the fine is 10 times that. If second offence then double the fine and so on as before. Non payment is jail time at the usual rate.

This one is more interesting. It is really on there for protection. You need to be able to remove someone who is not hurting you nor stealing your goods but is invading your private space. It is most likely to be met by violence and if so the invader will need to have a good reason. Otherwise a fine, a large one that reflects the potential.

Nice and simple. Makes the punishment fit the crime. Makes crime not cost effective and takes into consideration the criminals history. It does not tailor the punishment for anyone and it applies to all and can be seen to do so. Real Justice.

Next up is Education.

8 comments to Looking to the Future – Justice

  • fred

    The law should apply to all equally

    This, to me, is the critical one – that it be applied equally, without fear of favour.

  • Skean Dhude


    I agree. All should abide by the laws and not like now where a group make laws that they are excluded from.

  • In a SHTF situation I dont think morals or political beliefs will mean a rats crap especially in the initial stages when the fear, panic and uncertainty are at a peak.

    Instant and brutal justice will be the norm for organized groups that survive, any potential threat will be dealt with harshly and quickly me thinks.

    After the initial die off then perhaps a more justice based system will emerge but before that brutality, as we fight over or protect diminishing resources will be the norm.

    Leaders of groups will have step up to the plate and be prepared to do things to others that they would never contemplate in pre-SHTF times, an element of cunning and ruthlessness is how the group will survive me thinks, preparing our minds for that senario is as important as stocking food.

    There a those who cannot or will not accept this reality, they delude themselves that the good in humanity will mean we all band together in mutual support, that kind of thinking is suicidal and could get them or their group killed, well not on my watch it wont.

  • Ronnie

    Happy with what you’re suggesting, sounds fair so you’d get my vote.

    Except the jail part. I don’t think being sat in a hole is useful, I’d rather see criminals out working.

    Prison is meant to fufil several purposes; punishment, protection of other people, deterrant to others, rehabilitation.

    Your plan is harsh enough to cover most of the above. One to consider is that people who have been in prison need to be forgiven by society when they’ve done their time. They need to have a real chance to be invited back into society, (not given handouts and favoured) but mustn’t be shunned from villiage to village. Otherwise they’ll be forced back into crime, to be locked up for longer and so on. Each time causing harm and then living at the expense of the working.

    Someone who’s spent two years in a cell is unlikely to be able to blend back in. Perhaps someone who’s seen to spend their two years working damn hard for the village, perhaps doing unplesant tasks and has had some contact with outside people, is more likely to gain useful employment at the end of their term?

  • Skean Dhude


    Morals will certainly be bottom of the list of criteria when you are making decisions. However, once we are less desperate and start to build up communities it will come back and be a consideration. Justice will undoubtedly be death as a default.

    That is why I’m saying the leaders required for survival are probably not the same leaders required for building communities. They could be but that person would have to be really adaptable. Most won’t be.

    i think those that cannot get their heads around the concept that man’s base instincts are vicious will not survive long. Unless they are part of a larger community. In saying that most of us have morals. Eventually they will make themselves felt.


    Thanks for that. I’m not sure many will agree today. Too harsh.

    Putting criminals to work requires resources to monitor and control. People that can be guards may not be suitable for the oversight of prisoners and I think it is too risky. Many crimes will not require prison but when a crime is deemed enough then I think they should serve it in such a way that they never want to go back. It’s fine atm giving community sentences but we can see they do not generally work. In the situation after an even we can meet all your requirements except rehabilitation. We are not social workers. Perhaps, we could make the last fortnight of the sentence involve some way to get the prisoner out and back into society.

    Most societies do forgive criminals who have served their sentence, if they are trusted again is up to the individuals and depends on the crime. After all would you trust a convicted thief alone in your house whilst you went away on holiday? I would if he was related but not otherwise. (Sadly, I’m not a very forgiving person) I agree about being shunned but many decide to leave and find another home. It is a good reason not to commit any crimes if you find your life destroyed.

    Two years in a cell is unlikely, I suspect that any jail sentence that is that long would likely result in death instead. However, as the community grows I would hope that the Death penalty is reduced for non lethal crimes and jail sentences used instead. However, it depends on how much resource you want to commit to help criminals. Me, I’d like it to be as little as possible and make sure they get a harsh lesson.

    I think that a hole in the ground is the way lifers should be treated now as they should never be released. With prisoners that are going to be released we should have them chained to workbenches making clothes for the poor or basic pottery items. However, after an event when we start to regain some control do we want to invest resources in criminals, looking after them and managing their work. Perhaps, perhaps not. I would guess it depends on the group.

    Maybe this is why I am not Home Secretary.

  • Skean Dhude

    I’ve modified to text to be clearer on punishments. I missed it out from my notes when I was typing it in. Sorry.

  • Skvez

    Violence and theft have physical evidence and are clearly wrong but trespass is difficult to detect, sometimes even by the person committing it. When I’m walking across the country it’s not easy to know when I’ve wandered onto private property. If I’m not doing any actual harm should I not just be turned around for a first offence?

    An interesting way to deal with punishment when we can’t afford to jail someone is the probability of death punishment.
    Murder would be 100% probable punishable by death
    Rape 75%
    Dealing out a severe beating might result in a punishment of 50% death, the criminal has a 50% chance of being executed and a 50% chance of going free.
    and so on with lesser crimes having lesser chances of execution.

    This works well in theory but can suffer from two big drawbacks.
    If someone commits a crime in ignorance (takes an apple from a tree they didn’t realise belonged to someone) it’s a bit harsh to execute them even if it’s only 1% of the time.
    The majority of people don’t understand probability (if they did they wouldn’t play the lottery).

    I think jails should be solitary, this would reduce the gang culture in jails but I also think manual labour would be a good punishment. I’m not sure how you stop someone escaping if you give them an axe to chop wood but it’s a dull tiring task that we’ll need a lot of, seems a shame to waste the criminals potential labour.

  • Skean Dhude


    Trespass can only really be where it is signposted, in someones house or somewhere obviously owned. I’m more looking at someone who is ignoring warnings and would normally just get shot. Repeat offenders not kids chasing balls or strangers wandering down an unmarked road. So Yes, I would expect you to be warned and then you leave or else you are guilty of trespass.

    If the system is set up correctly you would never face death for stealing an apple in a court. Death is for serious crimes. However, you may get shot trying to steal one. How would your system work, the criminal plays a game of chance for their lives? Not Justice. You should know the cost for a crime after all it is a business transaction and you should now the cost up front. Your examples show how unfair that is.

    Happy to agree on jails there. The only reason I don’t like manual labour for criminals is they get out and about and have a chance for a bit of fresh air. What about those that can’t work? I believe you should make prison so bad they never want to return. Known and realistic sentences, applied consistently and people would not want to break the law. OK, you waste the labour but on the plus side they will consume less of your paid for calories.

    Look at that Norwegian, I understand 30 years is the maximum he will face. He may even be released at some stage. Yet 80ish people are dead. He surrended quickly and clearly didn’t want shot by Plod. Is it possible he would not have done this if he faced the Death penalty?

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