Discussion on Utopias - Crime and Punishment

A panel of thinkers responses to questions about their utopian society, in this case what the crime and punishment system would be like.

The Almanac's Exclusive Symposium on Utopia

What crimes would there be, and how would they be punished?

FULLER: Murder would perhaps be the only real crime, and it would be rare in a world without frustration. Robbery would be pointless in a world of universal wealth; greed would be mere extravagance.

HALL: Don't know what crimes, but the perpetrators would have to earn their way back into society by doing work assigned.

JOHNSTON: Crimes of persuasion punishable by detection.

KITT: There will always be crime, so punishment should be the severest. This would eliminate crime no matter who commits it. The needs of criminals should be studied. A man may steal a loaf of bread because of hunger, but if food is equally measured for all, there would be no crime.

LENNON: Plenty. Somehow.

SPOCK: Most criminality would be eliminated by giving all parents security and seeing that all children are given love and enjoyable schooling. Prisons should be staffed for rehabilitation.

WALLACE: There could be no crimes resulting from poverty or inequality. There would inevitably be crimes created by psychological ills, tempers, passions, and other human frailties. Judges and jurors would be trained for their jobs. No capital punishment, no jails. There would be understanding rehabilitation centers.

WALLECHINSKY: Murder, rape, and economic exploitation; punishment would be service to the community as well as a severe tongue-lashing by anybody who was so moved. Hardcore repeaters would be forced to watch Richard Nixon's Checkers speech over and over for 12 hours a day.

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