Summary: Questioner wants to know the best way to restrain a person in order to prevent self-harm, while minimizing discomfort, facilitating their cleanliness and ongoing education, allowing entertainment and providing opportunities for copulation while protecting their partner from unexpected violent mood shifts, all the while maintaining a discreet watch by stenographers recording the person's speech. Tech level is Victorian England.
Backstory: Several hundred years ago, certain youths in foreign lands began to be - for want of a less superstitious term - possessed by spirits of prophecy. Such persons so afflicted have mental states that vary between lucidity, drooling imbecility, and most significantly, prescience or violence and self-destructiveness, and the shifts in mental state are swift and unpredictable.
Since these prophets have been shown to have demonstrably accurate and specific powers of prophecy, they are a valuable resource of national importance. However, in all but a very few cases, their self-destructiveness and suicidal tendencies leads to a very short useful lifespan as a prophet unless placed in restraints that prevent self-harm.
Unfortunately, restraints strict enough to prevent self-harm can themselves be harmful. In the nations in which prophets first appeared, prophets were variously chained permanently spread-eagled upon crude stone slabs, lying in their own filth in hollows worn into the stone by generations of prophets who had lived out the remainder of their lives there before them, or pinioned within casks with only their hands, head and posterior protruding, amongst other yet more barbaric means of restraint.
So, enough of the historical background. Prophets were formerly found only in less civilised realms, where individual lives were of little importance when placed beside the needs of the state. However, a fortunate accident of inheritance has led to the occurrence of prophets in our own nation. It has been demonstrated by our scientists that the children of a prophet have an approximately 1 in 2 chance of being prophets themselves, but while around 2 in 3 children born of two prophets will also be prophets, there is a 1 in 4 chance that the infant will be stillborn, and should that be the case, the mother is also unlikely to survive the pregnancy. Given that such a mother would herself be a prophet, once the risks were recognized, prophets were forbidden to be bred to other prophets.
That being the case, women of our region - either those who could pass as natives of the nations in which prophets were present, or true natives who had been convinced to change their allegiance - volunteered to couple with male prophets in the hope of being impregnated with a child who would become a prophet, and would be born in our own region. Such women must have had strong stomachs, given the squalor in which prophets were kept, and their poor state of health and grooming, not to mention that they were actively trying to bear a child who would be cursed to a lifetime of slavery and degradation.
Now that we have our own prophets, our scientists have made further discoveries, with the assistance of a small handful of prophets who were able to control their self-destructive and suicidal urges while conscious.
While a prophet need not even be normally capable of speech in order to prophesise, educated prophets give better prophecies, as the prophecy appears to be filtered through the prophet's mind to a degree.
Additionally, healthy, happy prophets live longer and are of more use than mistreated slaves bound perpetually in their own filth until their untimely demise from festering pressure sores or other diseases.
To this end, our monarch has commissioned a study into the best way to restrain a prophet in order to prevent self-harm, while minimizing discomfort, facilitating their cleanliness and ongoing education, allowing entertainment and providing opportunities for copulation while protecting their partner from unexpected violent mood shifts, all the while maintaining a discreet watch by stenographers who are tasked to record any prophetic utterances.
As it has been shown over centuries that contact with a wide variety of people stimulates prophesy, our prophets' living conditions must be such that they are accessible to the general public, able to make physical, even intimate, contact with them, yet protected from assassins.
To this end, I am seeking public submissions as to the best way to maintain prophets in safety and comfort for all, maximising their useful lifespans and minimising the impact of their inevitable servitude, while ensuring that no prophesy goes unrecorded.
Please consider that our nation has technological capabilities similar to that of Victorian England, though our mores are rather less restrictive and class-based for the most part. Save for prophesy, magic is mere superstition or trickery.
Using individuals trained in the martial arts to restrain otherwise unrestrained prophets has met with only limited success. Prophets in a psychotic state have been known to exhibit hysterical strength and have a complete disregard for pain, and have been known to dislocate their own joints in order to escape a hold. Combined with the instant shifts in mental state, a prophet can do significant damage to themselves or others before their handlers can react.
The use of drugs has likewise been found to be of limited value. A prophet can slip instantly into a prophetic state at any time, even when in the midst of a violent outburst or an act of copulation, and the mental impairment that such drugs cause degrades the value of the prophecy. Additionally, some, but not all, violent outbursts appear to be uncontrollable by means of drugs, and are said by the superstitious to be the work of the possessing spirit, as prophets in such states have been observed employing martial skills that they have never learned and sometimes ought not be capable of performing at all, and seem immune to most drugs at such times.
Some few prophets appear to have an innate untrained ability to suppress their violent and self-destructive outbursts while conscious, though they exhibit visible signs of considerable mental and physical stress while doing so, and are not capable of suppressing an outburst that occurs during sleep or sedation.
A few more prophets have been successfully trained to be similarly able to suppress their violent and self-destructive outbursts, but the majority do not appear capable of benefiting from such training.
Many prophets show signs of depression, and it is thought that the unresponsive state that many show is more a result of that depression than an effect related to the ability to prophesise. In good conditions, prophets show fewer and shorter bouts of unresponsiveness.
Providing prophets with sexual partners is considered to be a good practise on multiple levels. As the prophetic curse almost invariably appears to strike during late puberty, new prophets are typically teenagers with the usual sexual urges. Providing them with sexual partners has been shown to reduce their stress levels and the frequency of undesirable mental states, and additionally provides the chance of new prophets to be born. Providing many sexual partners has been shown to broaden the range of their prophesies, and a new sexual partner is likely to trigger a shift to a prophetic state. However, violent outbursts directed at their sexual partners is also fairly common.
Given the necessity for intimate contact at such times, it is unlikely that a handler could prevent injury to the partner through martial techniques alone.