Monday, March 8, 2010

Build Prisons on the Moon

Build Prisons on the Moon

I know what you’re thinking. “Prisons on the moon? Absurd!” It’s not as crazy as it sounds.

There are so many great reasons to build prisons there.


The trouble with prisons is that they’re kind of like nuclear power plants and landfills. Everyone wants one, but no one wants one close by. It’s easy to understand why. Power plants are dangerous, landfills smell bad, and prisons have a disproportionately impoverished population.

We clearly need a place that is close but not so close that it’s in any of our backyards.

The moon is pretty close on a cosmic scale. It’s not as far away as Mars and it’s not as skin-roastingly hot as Venus. We could send our prisoners on prison ships hurtling through the cosmos, but that would be inhumane and give an odd first impression of humanity. How would you like humanity to be represented by Australians?

No, the moon is the perfect distance.

Escape Proof

Sure. You could escape from a prison on the moon. If you were a moron or suicidal. The moon has no oxygen of its own, and you can’t build a rocket or some sort of space raft to escape the moon either. It’s pretty much foolproof.


Alcatraz prison has one million visitors a year. If we assume that each visitor generates $10 of revenue (an assumption we must make since someone stole Alcatraz’s actual revenue information from the internet), that’s 10 million dollars of revenue.

The problem with the revenue is that Alcatraz also has a lot of upkeep costs and it’s notorious for polluting the bay. It might still be profitable, I’m not sure. But it’s not as profitable as it would be if it wasn’t sitting on sea water and poisoning fish or whatever.

What if it was on the moon and instead of $10 profit per visitor, it was making $100 profit per person?

It’s clear we’re going to need some high visibility prisoners to warrant that sort of fee, but I have a few in mind. Who wouldn’t pay a thousand dollars to go on a space flight that ended in a visit to the cell that once held George W. Bush when he was serving a reduced sentence (time off for good behavior) for declaring war on everything? Who wouldn’t pay a thousand dollars plus liquor money to view the cell where Paris Hilton served time for being herself?

Exactly the kind of party pooper we’re not counting on, that’s who.

Minor Problems That Need Addressing

Since most of the people that go to prison are poor and their families are generally pretty poor too, we’re going to have a hard time drumming up revenue any time real soon. It would probably help to decriminalize being non-white, but I’m guessing that’s asking too much.

It costs a lot of money to put stuff on the moon. Like huuuge amounts of money. Like more money than movies on Blu-Ray. Upside, it’s way better than 1080P and doesn’t require quirky firmware updates that take hours and hours to install every time you need to buy a new movie.

Obviously, the prisoners should have to grow their own food and oxygen and what not. Our previous experiences with biospheres on Earth haven’t been too promising. We should probably leave them some backup air and food just in case.

The last problem is the hardest: How are we going to spend all that mad loot? I’m thinking hamburger shooters.

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