#8) Arkham Asylum: BATMAN
Listen, as much as I dig the aesthetics of the creepy mental asylum named Arkham in the DC universe.. it is not only a horrible prison but a horrible place to work. I believe the place even started out as a hospital but is now home for those criminals deemed “criminally insane” or “mentally unfit”. Which doesn't do wonders for the worker morale. Considering that a list of staff members have become mentally unwell to while working there. But as we know in comics, the classification of “mentally unwell” means “super villains” and little else. So a place meant to help rehabilitate and contain the baddest and most homicidal of the bad guys Batman fights is in itself a petri-dish of infection that can spread into the minds of the watchmen who work there. It just seems pointless in my opinion to take a homicidal maniac, like that guy who carves numbers into his skin for each of the people he kills, and lock him in a room, feed him, and count down the time till someone goes crazy enough to let him out again. They never seem to delve further than that in the comics either, because the doctors - the ones not evil - seem to be incompetent and ignorant to any form of psychosis. Which to me has always done a disservice to the psychoanalytical industry. I mean I can watch a fucking episode of Criminal Intent and see a poorly written detective break apart the psyche of a crook in under 5 minutes, but in an entire universe of DC comics I can’t find one shred of an instance where a psychiatrist walks into a meeting with the Joker and isn't driven crazy themselves within the first 3 minutes. That is some bullshit, because yes while the Joker, or Cutty McCutter-ton I mentioned previous, might be incredibly insane, they are still 1) Incredibly Coherent and 2) didn't spend their lives studying human behavior. At least as much as you would if you were assigned to a infamous mental asylum where you were going to attempt to rehabilitate some of the worst cases of criminal psychosis in recorded history. A psychiatrist should be to them like Kryptonite is to Superman. It should utterly destroy their facade and help to heal their minds. Well at least that what you would hope, yet most of the people who end up caring are the ones that turn. I am telling you, the funding at this place must be right next to the funding for new park benches in Gotham and they keep missing it because without it the asylum is not really a place for rehabilitation, its just a place for Batman to park his collection of villains so that when he is feeling down he can always have one of them set loose so he can capture them and restart the cycle all over again. The point is, Arkham might look badass, and a couple of people might get some help, but in truth it is nothing more than a shelf where Batman keeps his trophies.
#7) Crematoria: Chronicles of Riddick
This prison is totally riddickulous (See what I did there?). The planet has 52 hour days, the surface is -295*F (-182*C) in the shade and +702*F(372*C) in the sunlight. Which means the surface of the planet is basically set on fire for 52 hours while the darker side it is quadruple the cold of anything you might try to experience while alive on this planet without a serious laboratory. Yes there is around 20 minutes in between day and night that the jagged surface is able to be traversed, but who the fuck would wanna try? The prison is located below the surface, and apparently there are air ducts on the surface (which kinda makes no sense since there is not a tree one on the whole planet but whatever - its SciFi) and they make it possible for air recycling. The prisoners are thrown into a pit to do as they wish until feeding time. Which consists of some sort of multicolored mountain lion-tigers to come out and drive whoever can make it back to their cell and the rest are devoured. So, yes, it is very very unlikely ANYONE could escape. The thing is though, why even go through all this trouble? The guards pay bounty hunters for their catch, which is negotiable on the spot. It is up to the guards who stays, but where the fuck is the money coming from? From some sort of government I could suppose, but do you think they seriously got some workers together to find the only cave on the surface and told them to go down there and dig in 20 minute increments so a bunch of criminals - with no hope of rehabilitation, nor release - could have a place to stay? Yes in this SciFi universe space travel is possible, yes aliens exist, but you do not have to be from the 4th dimension to know that it would be much easier just to shoot repeat offenders in the head rather than endanger the lives of municipal workers for the escapists wet dream. That is unless the whole point is so Russia could have a place in the galaxy where they could drink vodka, feed people to tigers, and boast about their environment being harsh.... then yeah, I could see that.
#6) Phantom Zone: Superman
Superman, the boy scout of comic books, still doesn't seem to know how to prison well at all. Rehabilitation never seems to be his motivation. Yet, he still won't kill his opponents, no matter how many human lives must die in the process of Superman's attempts at capture. Oh, but he will take their ex-Kryptonian ass into another plain of existence and walk away. What was that superman? Out of sight, out of mind? Yeah that fixes problems best, just ignore them until they go away…. Oh, so you don't kill people Superman? Okay, well lets see what the Phantom Zone is all about shall we: “Inmates reside in a ghost-like state of existence from which they can observe, but not interact with, the regular universe.” So you are saying that instead of killing someone, you would rather put them into a state of ghost-”like” existence? A ghost-like existence that has the option to escape… yeah… Because the Phantom Zone isn't some space that was created by Krypton, oh no, Superman’s dad just sort of found it and decided to keep criminals there. Its a universe with animals and native beings. So in a sense, Superman’s dad was the equivalent of Great Britain in regards to Australia… “Oh hey, I just discovered this new land! Ya know what I’m gonna do?!” “No, what?” “Oh, I'm gonna stuff all our worst criminals there cuz who cares if they are rehabilitated and we as a society address the problem from within when I can charge the Kryptonian government billions to use my enter-dimensional trashcan?!?!?!” - “But sir, should we study to make sure their are no indigenous life forms within….” - “Shut up, I'm trying to think of a cool name...” All i am saying, for a supposedly smart scientist, Jor-El had as much foresight as Bill O’Riley when talking about the moon and tide relationship on live television, or the people that watch and shake their heads in conservative agreement. Superman also has the opportunity to see the error’s of this, but instead just keeps on throwing more and more villain’s into it despite the obvious flaws. Yet, no one seems to bring up the unethical treatment of the people captured by a hero that prides himself on not killing his foes, when he might as well snap their necks and get it over with than put them through psychological torture it would be to be sent into a dimension that allows you to watch those you love die, put up with other rehabilitated inmates, and even fiend of indigenous lifeforms who are only defending their selves from alien invaders.
#5) Manhattan/L.A.: Escape from New York/L.A.
Now we are getting real, because if the republicans had their way I am sure that John Carpenter would be hailed as a prophet of things to come. You may also notice a trend occurring within this article of prisons, because each one so far has been a place where the authority of said universe just sort of chunks the prisoners into a hole and forgets them. That seems to be the case here in John Carpenter’s conservative wet dream of a universe where after a large natural disaster the crime rate was so high that instead of implementing some sort of poverty programs, legalizing drugs, gun control, or reforming education to somehow lift up the lower class - instead they said “Fuck em, put em on Manhattan/LA, surround it with mines and (ever republicans solution to all problems) build a 50 wall.” Which for a politician it isn't that surprising of an idea. A quick fix to a problem isn't anything new in America, but that doesn't mean it will work out in the long term. In just a decade, the Manhattan version of this fix on crime became a mix between Mad Max and The Warriors. In the LA version, it became a sort of Universal Studio’s for criminals. Of course you also get the choice of being executed before going into the place never to return, but why not just kill everyone? I mean, ya might as well right? If your solution to crime is to send those people onto an island without food or water, then why not just blow their brains out if you never intend on reforming their behavior? Oh, I see, because it is morally wrong to kill someone, right? So how is that a bad moral decision and throwing them into the belly of the apocalypse only to forget about them is peachy - as long as they are found guilty of a crime? Reforming someone's behavior should be at the top of the “Shit to do” list of any prison system, but with a type of incarceration that focuses on confinement only seems pointless and a waste of government funds. That is unless you are trying to create a Disney World of insanity, filled with people who will reproduce, and are just waiting around for a leader to get them out of there. In the LA version some asshole got to the top by looking like Che’ Guevara and having a god complex. I understand the importance of a dummy like this Che’ look-a-like to the plot line of the movie, but this ideal of an island prison shut off from the rest of the world would be high-fived in the current congress, especially if you told them a private sector security was going to run it, and especially especially if you had the word “immigrants” in the sales pitch. Honestly I can’t believe I haven’t heard Bill O'REilly bring this up on his show as a solution to the prison overpopulation…. but hey, just give it time, I am certain he will have to watch Escape from LA at some point - he looks like the kind of guy jerks off to TNT.
#4) Cali. Cryo-Penitentiary: Demolition Man
Now here is a prison where the object is to not only contain, but rehabilitate criminals. Only in this version the technology is turned all the way up while the empathy and ethics are turned so far down it is hard to even find traces of where they might have once been. They freeze the inmates solid, and if that is not bad enough, it is instantaneous which means they do not need to be asleep when they are frozen, and most of them are not. That takes care of confinement, but what about rehabilitation? Well while frozen each inmate is programmed with hobbies and interests that they have no part in choosing. That’s right, get locked up (aka frozen fucking solid by the state) and you will wake up with a pre-programmed interest in fly fishing, or in Spartan’s case crochet. Adversely, there is the other side to this coin illustrated by the bad guy who was also in prison. He is programmed with enhanced strength, advanced intelligence of computer systems, and also brainwashed into being unable to kill the guy who freed him. In other words they made him into a weapon and stripped him of his free will. The thing is, being able to program another human being with ideas, thoughts, enhancements, etc. is never addressed again. No one ever mentions that anyone can be programmed to be smarter, faster, or even superhuman. What?! John Spartan was given knitting, and when he was told why he liked to knit - by being programmed too - he just sort of brushes it off like “Of course..it’s the future” when his ass should have told the chick to flip the car around, head back to the fuckin lab, and program him with all the knowledge up till that point in the history of humankind… or in the very least knock his IQ up enough notches for him to enjoy the future and not be all Stallone sad-face the whole time. I mean the dude banged a chick with his mind from the other side of the room and was all “Ew, I don’t wanna.”.... you’re fuckin' joking right? HAHA! Who reacts like that to literally mind-fuckin' someone? A fucking idiot, that’s who. The problem with this sort of confinement is not the fact that it doesn't work, it does, but in an Clockwork Orange, lid clamps, and Beethoven sort of way where the society is fed up with habitual violators and figure brainwashing someone into being nice is more convenient. Which is a lot of words, but what they really mean is at this point society is lazy just like in the previous cinematic realities, but hey at least they tried some sort of rehabilitation. It’s ethically unsound and horribly immoral to not only care if they are asleep at the time of freezing, but to change the brain chemistry of a person against their will. I am not talking about extreme’s here, while it is wrong I would probably vote for a Joker-like person to be brainwashed, but that is me, the one thing I won't abide by is a car thief or a drug dealer to have their brain whisked into liking fantasy football, because it doesn't address the real issue. Also, do you know how many people have been wrongfully accused in this country for crimes they had no part in? To many for me to trust the government in stirring up someones grey matter to make them conform to my own or even the government's standards. To the point where if there was a decision to either not have it at all, or brainwash cases like the Joker and all others - I would pick not to have it at all.
#3) Converted Particle Accelerator: The Flash (TV Show)
I like the hell out of this show folks, and happen to think it all but perfect in its execution. Except for one simple thing: The Particle Accelerator/Prison that no one seems to realize in all their goodness is one of the most immoral and (I do not use this word lightly) shitty ideas I have ever witnessed. Made from the remnants of the particle accelerator that exploded in central city. This prison contains meta humans who have been deemed dangerous and caught by the Flash. Caught, but not taken to court, or trial, nor read their rights. The place looks to contain each villain in a 10/10/15 cube that is supposed to be impossible to escape from. No information on how they are fed, how they shower and poop, or if they even get time outside of the accelerator once captured. Since there is no information given to tell me otherwise the Flash is essentially capturing each villain in the show, locking them in a cube, and leaving them to die. I do not even know if the air is filtered in, or if they are locked in with their own farts until they die of dehydration. To me a chance to be executed Escape from New York style is an option at this point. Also, what happens if there is a fire, or if some other meta human levels the place with some sort of superpower? Well without the show explaining a little more, than I can only assume they would be left to die without a second thought. Even more, keeping all those mutants in one spot might not be such a good idea, considering they all seem to be on some sort of billion dollar lazy-susan waiting for a super villain to come along and take his pick. Inadvertently turning The Flash’s hideout into a one stop shop from meta humans with a grudge, and an exorbitant amount of knowledge of his destination if ever caught again.
#2) Prison Truck: X-Men 3 Last Stand
While this was probably a good idea in conception, I find this idea for a prison to be useless and fiscally pointless. It is a constantly moving transfer sized truck that contains mutants who are deemed too dangerous to hold at a regular facility. Holding prisoners in upright positions, abuse from the guards, and it has to consume a shit ton of fuel. It never stops because being on the move they are harder to detect by their fellow mutant comrades. It doesn't last however and is quickly eviscerated by Magneto in less than 3 minutes, guards and all. One of the weird things about the prison is the fact the guards have plastic pistols that shoot darts. The darts hold a serum that takes away mutant abilities. They use these as a threat to the prisoners, “act up and get shot, by by super powers”…. but the thing is, why not go ahead and shoot them? If they shot them, took away their power, the facility would not even need to exist at all. Which makes a lot more sense. Especially when you take into account the powers not being expelled permanently - that of course is unknown at that point. In my opinion, this is a just punishment for a mutant. Take their powers away as punishment for their crime and put them in jail or community service, since most are no longer dangerous after their powers are removed. Then again though, a lot of things in the movie didn't really make sense.
#1) Mark I Containment Unit: Ghostbusters
Topping this list off is the Containment Unit from Ghostbusters, with its laser grid and pile of human souls crammed inside of it. The biggest thing that is wrong with this is the simple fact that the Ghostbusters were supposed to be the good guys, but when you take into account the fact that they are scientists who discover conclusively that there is an afterlife, and the first thing they do is create a business model that relies on capturing and confining indefinitely the incorporeal souls of their fellow human beings. What are the ghosts? Are they remains, or are they actual peoples souls? Is there a way to help them move on? Is there a place to move on too? These are valid questions, questions that three scientists and a normal Joe from Brooklyn completely ignore, and make their living on torturing and confining for no other reason that being at a place which they have no control over being in the first place. No wonder they ransacked New York the minute they were let out by the dickless EPA guy, can you blame them, how could they even know what the hell was going on in the first place? There is no “Here is what to do in case you become a ghost after you are murdered.” book. There also is a fact that was ignored too, are not all reported ghosts of people who were murdered or died in some violent or sudden way? Well if that is the case my childhood heroes were going around locking up the souls of upset murder victims for a living. No trial, no lawyer, just “You are here, and the guy who owns this place doesn't want your sad ass bothering him or his customers. So come with us so we can store you in our basement. Love, The Ghostbusters” Which is sooooo fucked when you know that the containment is not always a fun place to be. Especially since some of the Ghosts aren't victims, but rather poltergeists and evil spirits roaming around. Again though, this is the classic quick fix lazy scenario where humanity is okay with a “out of sight, out of mind” fix to - what I do not consider to be a problem, but more of one hell of a scientific discovery. I mean, they don’t even go so far as to create one for evil ghosts specifically, they just lock everybody up in one spot. Sort of the way we do with people, we just replace the word “ghost” with “criminal”, and lock everyone up together. All I am saying is that the Ghostbusters could be much more than some American capitalists looking to make a quick buck at the expense of someone else's eternity, or at least try and help the ones who are not deemed malicious. But hey, I guess if there were in the business of helping ghosts, they wouldn't be named Ghostbusters.
I believe we can agree that the idea of a prison is not only a place for us to keep the people as punishment who break the laws in our society, but it is also supposed to be a place to reform that persons behavior. Since most fiction tries to mirror the real world, it seems that it would be prisons (the place we keep our super villains and/or foe's) that would also equally share in the fantastic ideals the story (or hero) reflects. I find all to often that this is not really the case. It seems that the idea of a prison in fiction is just a place to house the outcasts, only to have them escape or wait to die. Why? Shouldn't the justice a Super or regular hero extend to the person that they are fighting? What do you mean you are against killing, but for keeping the person locked away until they die? Shouldn't they be treated like they have rights, or be put into a place where they can get the care, help, or at least compassion from those who wish to house them. Most of the ideal prisons in fiction concentrate solely on confinement and nothing more, seemingly forgetting that they have locked away a human being - no matter how insane there are some moral and ethical decisions which most of these places seem to look over. Shouldn't the hero try to aspire to more? Shouldn't the society? Why not just blow their brains out the back of there head and be done with it? A lot of these places seem to not only be inhuman but fiscally irresponsible for the society. Some of the issues even reflect a lot of current views, and perhaps that is why they are looked over so easily. Maybe the why they are is really just an ideal we share, one of confinement and not rehabilitation, as a society in the real world. One could think that researching the current prison over population problem America currently faces. As i set here with this scotch and soda I can only hope that we fix this issue eventually, and perhaps we need only examine our own societies reflection inside the fiction we hold so dear. Then one day we can realize the mistakes we make at only looking at the surface of an issue rather than a the root.
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