The lights that hung two stories above did little to light the grey concrete hallway as a man in a suit led a group of five other men all in grey suits as he was, down the hallway, gesturing occasionally to one of the pods on either side, each filled with a single body, a screen on the door of the pod reading the vitals of the person held in stasis inside.
“I assure you all, despite the protesters this remains the most humane way of dealing with violent criminals on the planet.” His voice was smooth as warm chocolate, his eyes lit from behind with greed. A security guard passed by on the walkway that served as the floor above. Up there, the pods were a part of the wall itself, each one sunk partially into the concrete the building was made of.
“I’m certain, but I also noticed they seem to be released earlier than their sentences would suggest. That isn’t comforting to the voting public, Mr. Reynolds.” One of the group spoke, and the other murmured agreement. The views of the voting public were especially important around election time, and there was one around the corner.
“Oh, don’t worry Senator. These men and women serve their sentences like all others, just in a different manner, a more humane one.” Mr. Reynolds assured the politicians. “We believe that our facilities offer a better chance at rehabilitation. Our rate of return is significantly lower than that of other prison systems after all.”
Of course, they often returned to the world with a complete lack of knowledge of what had happened while they were serving their sentences, and the culture shock made finding jobs, among other things, even more difficult, but they never were returned for violent crimes. So long as that was true, who cared about the fate of a criminal?
“I will give you that Mr. Reynolds. Your former prisoners are not eager to return.” The Senator paused by one of the pods and peered inside. Behind the lightly fogged glass lay a woman, looking for the entire world like she merely slept, at peace. “Who is this one?”
“Ah, this is our most infamous tenant, serving four life sentences. No need to worry however. The intravenous drip that our prisoners receive their nutrients from keeps them in the cryogenic state, so long as their body temperatures remain below a certain level.” He assured the politicians. “It even slows their aging so that they don’t lose out on too much of their life while serving their sentences.”
Mr. Reynolds opened the door without fear, and leaned the dark haired woman inside forward. Her short cropped hair did nothing to hide the diodes that ran down her dark skin along her spine. “It’s easy enough to move the prisoners and keep them in shape enough that they are able to walk and move after their internment, though even with her age slowing, Ms. Adams will be not have too much time let by the time she has finished her sentence.”
He laid her back, hiding the diodes once more and closing the door. “I’m sure you noticed the drip going into her wrist. Ms. Adams is well and truly held here.” He said. “And will serve four lifetimes, as she was sentenced, all in the computer generated world where all of our inmates serve their times. As you men know, they begin life again from birth. We at Justice Corrections Corp believe that this allows them better to rehabilitate themselves, by truly giving them a second chance.”
The Senator nodded at that. “Then is seems all is in order. I believe it won’t be hard to convince the others to award the contract to JCC. After all, this is a rather human facility.” He said and walked on.
In the pod, Ms. Adams eyes fluttered briefly before closing once more.
“Excellent. Given the boom in populations, prison facilities like this are truly the best choice. We can fit more prisoners per square foot, with less resources, than any other.” The man boasted, pleased. “Across the 12 worlds, Justice Corrections houses almost 7.2 billion criminals. An extra facility is sure to help, given how quickly the population grows.”
“Of course. Isn’t the program becoming rather crowded?” The Senator asked, and Mr. Reynolds smiled.
“Oh yes, but no worries. We’ll be branching out. In the computer world, the prisoners will have a breakthrough in space travel. Though it will be just enough for them to colonize a second planet, and a second prison. It will be called Mars.” They had already named it, some of the prisoners from many decades ago, after all. The planets and stars had only been designed so the prisoners would not panic over it. Anything too unrealistic and they may break free somehow.
The programmers were already designing the new prison system, and the details that would be found there. The contract of course, was Justice Corrections. It just took enough donations to enough senators, after all.