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Everyone in this world from the age of 5 can teleport to anywhere they have been before even if they forgot how to go there. This started about 4,000 B.C.E where a bright green star landed on earth and affected all humans to be able to teleport, they can teleport with them 5 times their weight (they choose what they bring) and if anyone forgets a place they've been they can not go there. The reason why young people can't teleport is because the part of the brain isn't fully developed.

How would people who, let's say, murdered someone get punished? He could just go home or go to a place he's been before.

Some crimes would be harder to do like rape, murder and kidnapping because the person who might be the victims could just leave in an instant, but crimes like thieving are easier.

This should take place about 1000 to 2000 years after they started to be able to teleport. You can answer for later like 3000+ but I am writing this for 1000 to 2000 years after humanity starts being able to teleport.

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    $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$
    – Monty Wild
    May 27 at 23:52
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    $\begingroup$ What happens to things that are attached to a person who teleports? Clothes, jewelry, manacle, handcuffs? What happens if that stuff is more than 5 times their weight? $\endgroup$ May 28 at 12:30
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    $\begingroup$ You probably should re-consider what the justice system's role is in your world. Because in the real world, it's not exclusively for "punishment". If you just want to punish people, then you don't need to lock them up. If you want to lock them up, it's likely because there are other considerations rather than just punishing them. $\endgroup$
    – VLAZ
    May 28 at 12:46
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    $\begingroup$ Also, can a person still teleport if someone is holding on to them or physically grappling with them? $\endgroup$ May 28 at 13:06
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    $\begingroup$ Just an astronomy note: "a bright green star landed on earth". It's green so maybe it's not a Star star, but stars need to have a certain (very large) mass in order to burn (otherwise they're known as brown dwarfs, gas giants, planets, gas clouds...) So whatever it is, it's not a naturally burning star as it would rather engulf the earth... but then again, as far as I know, there are no green stars, so... $\endgroup$
    – Erk
    May 28 at 13:49

22 Answers 22

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Societal Penalties

Useful punishments depend on what end is being served.

  • "Where there is crime, there should be punishment" (punitive)
  • "Make right what you set wrong" (restorative)
  • "An eye for an eye" (retributive)
  • "Become a better person" (reformative)
  • "This shouldn't happen in the future" (preventative)

Most justifications for punitive or reformative penalties tend to be (on a societal level) preventative. Retributive approaches tend to serve either preventative or restorative aims, although the justification can be shaky.

So, what's left that teleporting won't help?

Ostracism: Nobody will acknowledge your existence, or will treat you like an animal/object. Psychologically, this is highly effective at removing the criminal or forcing them to conform.

Murder/injury: This has to be applied fast and have permanent effects, so branding, castration, or murder are likely to be the primary examples. Chloroform allows for slightly more precision.

Credit/debt systems: Drain someone's bank account until they serve the mandated sentence. They can steal to survive, but they won't be able to make major purchases easily.

Distrust: Teleporting doesn't save you from people's opinion of you.

Strangers will, naturally, be highly suspicious people, and kept out of storehouses. It's likely that a group of highly-trained transport staff will mediate trade and vouch for each other. (This group will have to be extremely harsh with its own members in order to remain above suspicion. Up to and including sacrificing members to a mob "for the greater good".)


Assumptions: This ability includes free choice of what is teleported with you, and is easy to use. Explosive collars/implants can be freely left behind. Penalties that can be used since 4000BCE are preferred over modern-tech penalties.

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Drugs/Surgery + Jail

If the ability to teleport requires a certain level of functionality in the brain, the ability to teleport could be stopped by the use of drugs for a temporary punishment or surgery to permanently remove the ability.

Brain surgery could be a serious deterrent for serious and repeat offenders.

Explosive Collar + Jail

If a control collar was fitted and couldn't be removed, it could be set to explode if it goes outside a certain area or even explode if it detects teleportation. Offenders would have no choice but remain in prison.

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    $\begingroup$ If people could easily teleport with or without anything they're touching, an explosive collar / device could likely still be fitted / implanted in such a way that trying to teleport without it would result in death (e.g. it's attached to a major organ). $\endgroup$
    – NotThatGuy
    May 27 at 11:25
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    $\begingroup$ Teleporting would require a build up of energy for the jump. Even if that took 1/100th of a second, an explosive collar could detect it and detonate to remove the offender's head before they could escape. $\endgroup$
    – Thorne
    May 27 at 11:31
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    $\begingroup$ Another thing is the ability of former inmates to teleport back to prisons and do mischief there. If the ability to teleport is "silent" and "undetectable" then it just means that any former inmate will go out, buy guns and stuff needed and break his pals out of prison. Detainment for imprisonment then becomes a real hassle. It's much easier to punish stuff corporally and financially with those terms. $\endgroup$
    – mishan
    May 27 at 13:11
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    $\begingroup$ "In other news, state prison staff just confirmed that all 438 inmates have been explosively decapitated this morning due to a power spike in the aging building's electrical system. Whether the incident was caused by equipment failure, vandalism or another case of an intern porting too close to the cell blocks is currently unknown. Prison management said they expect the cleanup to take several weeks." $\endgroup$ May 27 at 17:38
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    $\begingroup$ @RutherRendommeleigh "any prisoner can be killed off by, well, anyone teleporting in and messing with the device" - pretty much like any other person can be killed off by anyone teleporting in and shooting them? If someone wants them dead, the collar probably isn't going to help or hurt much there. $\endgroup$
    – NotThatGuy
    May 27 at 17:57
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They would be banned.

In a way this is like cheating gamers in online games. They teleport in and out of the game, cheating and chuckling. If the game catches them they are banned. It is easier for the cheaters because they can come back with a different persona. It is harder but not impossible to change your body and identity.

Your criminals would be banned until they did their punishment. They would be denied services at civilized places. They could not get a loan or use credit or government services. They would have to hole up in their mom's basement. Moms' basement? That is a tricky plural if you mean they as plural and not the gender agnostic they because they will have plural moms. Unless they are siblings.

Where was I? Criminals! In worst cases it would be like the old west: Wanted posters. Bounty hunters would track people down and take a finger or brand their foreheads in their sleep, or kill them. Maybe some criminals would be offered bounty hunter work as their punishment.

I think this is a great premise for a fiction by the way!

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    $\begingroup$ There would be an extremely quick rise of "criminal" communities specializing in serving the criminals. Any strong enough organization with a mercenary enough attitude could start one. The deterrent of the ban only works if you don't have a group that can ignore the societal pressure and an easy enough way to move to that community. If you don't have proper checks on travel (which is extremely hard when everyone can teleport), every criminal will just move to the mercenary town/nation to live and do the criminal activities outside. $\endgroup$
    – mishan
    May 27 at 12:52
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    $\begingroup$ Someone has to say it: the correct plural is "moms' basements", unless the criminals' mothers collectively own a single basement. $\endgroup$
    – Galendo
    May 27 at 18:49
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    $\begingroup$ @mishan that's a feature, not a bug, it's how nations are formed! Eventually the 'mercenary community' will develop its own internal set of rules (otherwise it's not a community) Then OP has to worry about how war between opposing nations would be conducted $\endgroup$
    – JeffUK
    May 28 at 9:16
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    $\begingroup$ @Galendo or, if the criminals share a single (figurative) mother that owns an underground hotel complex, that would be Criminals' Mom's Basements. $\endgroup$ May 28 at 15:01
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    $\begingroup$ @mishan: If you can only teleport to places you’ve been to it gets much harder. You’d need to know where to find the criminal community. If you can do it, so can the police. $\endgroup$
    – Michael
    May 28 at 15:27
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if anyone forgets a place they've been they can not go there

If they can only teleport to places they remember, drug induced amnesia will actually nullify their power.

Drug-induced amnesia is amnesia caused by drugs. Amnesia may be therapeutic for medical treatment or for medical procedures, or it may be a side-effect of a drug, such as alcohol, or certain medications for psychiatric disorders, such as benzodiazepines.

Once they are induced amnesia, they can be confined in a normal prison for the duration of their sentence.

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    $\begingroup$ Elegant solution. $\endgroup$
    – StephenG
    May 27 at 4:31
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    $\begingroup$ Effective, but I would argue cruel and unusual too. $\endgroup$
    – Ruadhan
    May 27 at 10:48
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    $\begingroup$ @Ruadhan not really, maybe from your point of view, but if you need to prevent people from teleporting back to prisons or teleporting out of them it becomes one of the only relatively easily accessible low-tech solutions. You must realize that the society will look absolutely different from ours, with massive repercussions for trespassing and probably shoot/kill on sight for trespassers on critical infrastructure. $\endgroup$
    – mishan
    May 27 at 13:23
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    $\begingroup$ This would allow some interesting spins because you never know why you are in prison and if you really have done something wrong until you are (if ever) released and the drugs are slowly flushed out of your system. $\endgroup$
    – Blutkoete
    May 27 at 13:30
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    $\begingroup$ @mishan True enough. Personally I consider the human mind sacrosanct. Forcibly taking memories or experiences from a person is on a level alarmingly close to murder in my eyes. The exception is if the drug only blocked access. If they recover their memories harmlessly after an extended sentence then fair enough. If they lose memories of places and experiences, then they will have lost something of who they are. It's a mutilation of the mind. On a related note, I am not a fan of the cavalier use of memory-modification in Harry Potter either. /rant $\endgroup$
    – Ruadhan
    May 27 at 14:11
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Here are some methods of keeping teleporters trapped, some low-tech, some high-tech. Note that these are all designed to keep people who don't want to be in prison there. Most criminals could be kept in prison simply by making them understand that if they escape, their punishment will be much, much worse when they get caught again. Average embezzlement-joe or corner-drug-dealer-jane would much rather hang out in prison for a year compared to the potential death sentence they'd receive if they escaped.

  • Poisoning: When captured, administer a poison to the prisoner that will be fatal within 24 hours. Then, give them a suppressant to the poison daily in prison. If they decide to teleport out, they might have a few hours of freedom, but they will need to return unless they want to die. At the end of their sentence, they are given an antidote which neutralizes the poison.

  • Low-pressure-trick: Keep your prisoners confined in a hyper- or hypobaric chamber. These take a while to acclimate to, but once they are acclimated, they shouldn't suffer any serious long-term health problems. If they attempt to teleport out, the place they teleport to will invariably have a lower or higher pressure, and they'll be killed rather quickly by the Bends/diver's sickness.

  • Tattoo bounties: Figure out a tattoo ink which can be neutralized at a later point or perhaps fades with time like a henna tattoo. Then, tattoo each prisoner's faces and hands with markings that are recognizable by all and represent a bounty. If someone notices these tattoos outside of prison, they have the legal right to capture and potentially kill that person since they're an escaped convict.

  • Sedation: This one kind of defeats the purpose of prison as it's neither punitive nor rehabilitative, but you could simply keep the teleporters unconscious and supplied via IV. Nurses or other staff would need to prevent bedsores and clean/care for the prisoners, but for very short durations, this could work.

  • Punishment collars: Build a collar with a pressure sensor on it and take the derivative of its reading. If it detects a spike or a rapid change, assume that the wearer has teleported and then punish them accordingly. Maybe deploy an electric shock or simply an explosive.

  • Subdermals: Presumably, while people might be able to choose what clothing/accessories they teleport with, they don't get to choose what internal organs they teleport with. This means that embedding trackers/bombs/poisons under the skin is a viable solution. For example, install a small radio-detecting poison capsule under the skin of each prisoner and have the jail emit a radio signal. So long as the capsule detects this signal, the capsule does not open, but if they leave the range of the signal, the capsule opens and immediately incapacitates/kills the escapee.

  • Lobotomy/mind manipulation: This one's rather monstrous, but it should be possible to erase someone's memory of previous places by mucking around in their brain via surgery or administering the right drugs. Note that this would probably only be done if the government is particularly evil as doing so would basically be a death sentence since the victim would likely go through identity death. This would also negate any punitive purposes of imprisonment, as the prisoner wouldn't remember their crime.

  • Hammurabi-style: This one's also rather old-fashioned and monstrous by today's standards, but eliminates the need to keep people confined in prison for a long time. Instead, their punishment is instantaneous. Instead of long prison stays, the person simply gets maimed and then released. Classically, thieves get their hands chopped off, people who blind others get their eyes poked out, etc.

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    $\begingroup$ I think the low-pressure-trick is a cool idea, assuming you can keep someone from teleporting out long enough to be safely acclimated to it. However, as a logical counter measure many criminal groups will likely possess their own hyper/hypobaric chambers that they make sure their important people have visited. That way one can safely teleport from your prison chamber to a criminal-run chamber that will allow safely adjusting to normal pressure. That in turn means police working to find and disable these and risk of teleporting to a no longer running chamber etc. $\endgroup$
    – dsollen
    May 28 at 14:18
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    $\begingroup$ "the legal right to capture and potentially kill that person" -- how? This is a basic problem with teleportation scenarios; they tend to break fundamental assumptions on which societies are based. $\endgroup$
    – jeffB
    May 28 at 16:20
  • $\begingroup$ @jeffB Bounty hunters, if they see a marked escapee could simply shoot them or knock them unconscious. The ability to instantly flee isn't useful if you don't know when to do so. Also subtle strategies could be used; a bounty hunter bartender could slip something in an escapee's drink so they pass out before they can flee. Also, OP hasn't elaborated exactly on the teleportation mechanics work, but I assume that if you're holding on to someone while they teleport, you can go with them or prevent them from teleporting or something. $\endgroup$
    – Dragongeek
    May 28 at 16:30
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    $\begingroup$ Sedation for a long time is punitive. Wesley had 50 years of his life stolen; maybe he feels fine tomorrow, but his inevitable death is so much closer. Now imagine it's not instantaneous, and society actually moves on 50 years and your generation is old or dead and you have to learn how to set the clock on your space VCR. It would be truly horrific, regardless whether the prison is experienced. $\endgroup$
    – Tom
    May 29 at 1:43
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    $\begingroup$ Something perhaps worth exploring further under poisoning/sedation in this setting is the milder option of drugging the prisoner with hallucinogens or other substances that interfere with their ability to accurately teleport. Normally this would be hard to design, but since everyone in the setting is a teleporter there would be plenty of examples of unwise behaviour to work from $\endgroup$
    – Pingcode
    May 29 at 9:32
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Voluntary Submission to Punishment, or Immediate Death

Let's say the authorities think that a fair punishment is to shackle the person (assuming they can't teleport out of shackles), or to cut off their hand (if they can).

Imposing such a penalty would be impossible, unless the criminal consented. You can't arrest someone unless you can tackle them, threaten to shoot them, or similar, and if you tried that they would teleport away. You'd have to be extremely lucky if you wanted to surprise them, knock them out, and apply the penalty while they're unconscious.

You could offer them a fair trial, but they'd probably teleport away during the trial, if it looked like they were going to be found guilty.

So a common way of handling things might be Trial In Absentia. They can teleport in to answer questions if they want, but it is not assumed that they will. If there's enough evidence to declare them guilty, then you sentence them. The sentence is publicly announced. They then have a few days to turn themselves in and submit to voluntary punishment. If they don't show up, they are declared outlaws. Outlaws are to be killed on sight.

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Ordinary Shackles and Chains

How do you define "carry with them"?

If they have an object in their hand, can they choose to teleport away, leaving it to drop? Or will the object come along with them?

I choose to believe that if you clamp their hand around an object, they will not be able to leave it behind.
You might have to clamp their hand in such a way their fingers are curled around a handle, but that's a fairly minor technical challenge.

So a variation on chains and shackles will do the job.
Just attach them firmly to an object weighing a few tons (like a giant block of concrete) and they will be unable to teleport away.

You only need do it with one of their hands. Leaving them free to eat and handle objects, and you may be able to attach the hand-clamp to a chain giving them enough mobility to move around. The caveat being that with some loose definition of objects, they may be able to teleport away with only part of the chain. So perhaps a thick rope would be better instead.

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  • $\begingroup$ Or you could just chain them to the wall, that would make the entire building (and possibly the planet) part of the weight. $\endgroup$
    – toolforger
    May 27 at 17:23
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    $\begingroup$ That's the solution used in the Jumper novels by Steven Gould (although it's the other way around--bad guys using it to restrain the teleports.) Their teleportation amounts to open a 4D hole and slide through it. Anything they're holding will come through--if they're tethered they have to exert enough force to snap the tether or they're not going through. $\endgroup$ May 28 at 1:05
  • $\begingroup$ @LorenPechtel and even if portal cuts are a thing, having the wrists on the other side of a wall will prevent their use... unless the prisoner wants to escape that bad (and then you put their neck through that hole second time around ... or, come to think of it, first time around $\endgroup$ May 29 at 13:28
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnDvorak The novels I was referring to if they attempt to pass through the portal the restraint pulls hard against them and they stay put. We only see what the characters see, they don't know how it works. (They can, however, open a portal and not pass through. The environment passes through open portals.) $\endgroup$ May 29 at 23:37
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Teleportation requires knowing where you are relative to where you want to be. So knock them out first.

(Courtesy of Alfred Bester and The Stars My Destination. A great book; not a "nice" one admittedly - the protagonist is one of the great anti-heroes - but if you're here and asking questions like this then you should definitely read it.)

You can teleport to anywhere you've been before, because your mind retains some instinctive relative map of how to get there, and hence can "plot" a direction and distance. But that requires you to be conscious. If you're moved whilst you're unconscious, you would need to reorient yourself relative to a known place, in order to teleport back to previous places. In Bester's book, criminals are knocked out and imprisoned in disused mines whilst unconscious. Without knowing how deep you are, you can't teleport out.

Of course you can try. Bester's concept was that attempts to "blue jaunt" (as it is called in the book) in a random direction in hope of getting out are all destined to go only a short distance into the surrounding rock. Two solid bodies cannot share the same space, so the result is that the person and rock explode. The prison authorities make no effort to stop this. It is hard enough to survive in the prison as it is, and if someone wants to commit suicide, the authorities are more than happy to allow it.

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    $\begingroup$ When I read the question, I thought of The Stars My Destination. $\endgroup$ May 27 at 20:56
  • $\begingroup$ You'd need some explanation for why they can't teleport 2 miles up, then teleport back to the ground. Something like conserving momentum and/or a cool-down should make that trickier to do without at least breaking your legs $\endgroup$
    – JeffUK
    May 28 at 9:19
  • $\begingroup$ @JeffUK the reason for that you don't know where 2 miles up is, you never been in the open ground above the mine while conscious, in the story being able to teleport to a place requires having a mental image of that place, an image which the prisoners lack having never been directly outside the prison mine. $\endgroup$
    – cypher
    May 30 at 13:47
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The trivial solution would be to state that people can't teleport out of places covered with handwavium. Thus, jails, courts, security camaras, etc. would be made of that material. However, this isn't particularly creative.

For quick restraints, you could simply use other people. You want to ensure that the criminal you found doesn't teleport away, or that he stays in courtroom during the process. You could simply have a couple of officers holding him. Similar to how they could stop him if he wanted to walk away, I expect that someone attached to a teleporter could use their own teleporting power for not being teleported (different people will have varying teleport strenght, but a 2:1 ratio seems enough).

For actual punishments, the society would use other ways other than rmeoving the freedom of movement (which seems very hard in this setting). For example

  • Punishment for their criminal actions would affect their family
  • All their credit gets revoked, so while they could travel, they would have no means of interacting with the society (banknotes and other physical tender disappeared on 2612 BCE).
  • It would be a dishonor to commit a crime, or avoid the punishment imposed by the court/their peers/the Book of Law, so nobody in this society would teleport away from the consequences of their acts (or voluntarily commit a crime, actually)
  • They lose a number of Pokemon Go points proportional to their crime (turns out in this future, they are more valued than honor)
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For more serious crimes?

  1. Summarily executed on site of crime if possible. (death penalty used to be much more popular, idea of treating imprisoning people as the default punishment for serious crimes is quite new)
  2. Otherwise... exile with becoming outlaw. (It's not that you escaped... No, no, no... We exiled you)
  3. The most serious (or obnoxious criminals) would be tried in absentia and effectively subject to execution taking form of something looking like state sanctioned assassination.

For misdemeanors it's not much issue, as becoming outlaw is more serious thing than fine.

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Society would be draconian, and based off trust and affection in early times.

In ancient times, teleportation would be a great advantage for any combat force. The mongols were deadly because they could defeat in detail any enemy, ambushing them with fast horses that could hit whenever it was most advantageous. Everyone can do that now.

As such, to stay safe you'd have closed off compounds, where everyone knew each other. They would have skilled soldiers who could murder anyone who caused a serious threat. If someone stole or murdered someone those around could hear such, and judge whether the person was likely to have done such a crime. They could prevent strangers from entering the community and teleport mapping it with heavy walls, and use threats to families and known houses of people to keep them in line. If someone escapes, they'll need to survive in the wilderness or go to other communities which also don't trust outsiders, especially poor outsiders without access to great wealth.

When more advanced, police state, tracking chips, face recognition, and kill squads.

The fact that people can teleport around bombs and fires makes them an exponentially greater threat. Drugs and brain surgery are too slow for most. You can just have teleporting police and military who kill anyone who is a serious threat and isn't staying on the grid.

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  • $\begingroup$ Yup, access becomes a commodity, basically. You don't let anyone inside your home and trespassing becomes a matter of life and death punishments. $\endgroup$
    – mishan
    May 27 at 12:59
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    $\begingroup$ Yeah. Once someone has seen your room they can teleport and kill you when you sleep, so seeing someone's room would be treated like planning to murder someone. $\endgroup$
    – Nepene Nep
    May 27 at 13:01
  • $\begingroup$ This is very good. $\endgroup$
    – user85825
    May 29 at 1:20
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According to the Wikipedia article on prisons:

The Romans were among the first to use prisons as a form of punishment, rather than simply for detention.

It just so happens that between the first written codes in Babylon and the rise of Rome there were a few millennia. In between, most crimes would be punished with physical punishment, usually ranging from whipping to flaying.

You can literally take a page from the Leviticus for inspiration. Chapter 20 is all about punishment for various transgressions. Such as:

Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.

If a man marries both a woman and her mother, it is wicked. Both he and they must be burned in the fire (...)

A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them (...)

Etc., etc.

If your teleporter criminals try to flee, well, it's a matter of finding them and setting them on fire or stoning them before they can run away again.

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    $\begingroup$ That's one scary Rulebook you are using there. "Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death." .. me: "My damn parents are so irritating!" .. crowd with pitchforks "Burn him!" $\endgroup$
    – PcMan
    May 27 at 9:30
  • $\begingroup$ @PcMan also known as the Samuel L Jackson Law. $\endgroup$ May 27 at 18:10
  • $\begingroup$ I had no idea that Leviticus was such a bleeding-heart liberal. $\endgroup$
    – DrMcCleod
    May 27 at 19:49
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure how any of these types of punishments could possibly work in a world where people can just teleport away. How do you suggest they put someone to death that can just leave at their whim? $\endgroup$
    – Kevin
    May 27 at 20:26
  • $\begingroup$ @Kevin you follow them with a shotgun. $\endgroup$ May 28 at 1:41
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Three little words: lovely drugs.

You impair the teleporter's consciousness so far that they cannot accurately teleport. Perhaps you even put them in a medically induced coma if the risk of attempted breakout is too high. Law enforcement carries tranq darts with a variety of weights* to impair and arrest someone (assuming they don't teleport on top of you and knock you out).

For added security you place a tracker inside their body at a semi-random location. Should they escape anyway you can track them.

As a last resort you can target things like their home and bank account should they succeed to run.

*weights for the individual to put down. "This dart is designed to put a man of 70kg to sleep. Heavier people might stay awake".

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    $\begingroup$ Tasers! And you can also tattoo the perpetrator for the world to see to socially outcast him. $\endgroup$
    – Trioxidane
    May 27 at 7:30
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Edit: This answer isn't really relevant given an updated question with included timeline as a long LONG time before GPS and microchips are available.

Two part solution: Implantable GPS and a "V-Chip"

GPS

Implantable GPS's are technically feasible now - or leg/neck collars as a fallback like current criminals are forced to wear. If it's attached to you or implanted INSIDE of you, it'll teleport with you when you come and go.

The GPS can be geofenced - leave an area and ZZZZZZZAP you're unconscious with a tracking beacon.

You can run... but you can't hide. And you end up knocked out.

A bounty, a GPS with geofencing and stun guns. You'll be returned to the authorities.

"V-Chip"

In the South Park universe, a V-Chip is an implantable chip that detects unwanted behavior and delivers an appropriate shock to block or deter such actions as are unwanted.

We aren't talking foul language here... but teleportation.

To teleport, requires forethought and a conscious decision. That decision can be detected at the subconscious level before it becomes a thought... and that thought before it becomes a decision... and at those points, a light - or debilitating - zap can occur to stop the teleportation.

Both Devices

The pairing of the two devices... one to track you if somehow you get past the V-Chip... and the second to keep you where you are in most circumstances. This should be an option not far from our current technology.

You can teleport but you can't teleport away from what's inside of you. What's inside you controls the abilities you obviously couldn't handle responsibly. Maybe some day you'll earn parole or forgiveness... but not yet. Until then... you're effectively grounded to your home - or worse - a prison complex.

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    $\begingroup$ this takes place before a lot of technology was invented so I think the OP wants a simpler way to punish them. $\endgroup$
    – user77135
    May 27 at 20:45
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    $\begingroup$ @BriggyT honestly, the ability to teleported started back then... there's no real info on when the CURRENT story is running. Just because teleportation began in 4000bc... doesn't mean that THIS STORY is 4000bc. But that's a good question about timelines and capabilities. What can be done in the near future... vs today... vs in the 1800s... good questions. My answer assumes current time or near future. $\endgroup$
    – WernerCD
    May 27 at 20:53
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    $\begingroup$ Thank I really love you answer my story takes place between 3000BC - 4000BC but I didn't state that. thanks $\endgroup$
    – user85825
    May 29 at 1:19
  • $\begingroup$ @MathCookie that's a massive point that determines what's available as an option :) GPS and implantable electronics may not be available that far back. heh (edit: which it looks like you've already done. Cheers!) $\endgroup$
    – WernerCD
    May 29 at 22:25
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It seems to me that the question isn't so much about punishment as it is about identifying the person who committed a crime. If you're just after punishment options, there are a number of options above. But before you can punish someone, or even track down the culprit, you have to figure out who the culprit actually is.

The first problem is that you can't use normal tracking methods when the offender can both enter and leave the scene via teleportation. Unless there's some detectable pathway left by the teleport there's no realistic way to follow the offender's path. Of course if teleportation exists then a tracking ability may also exist.

Assuming there's no realistic tracking option we're limited to the evidence available at the scene in order to identify our offender. Some of the comments seem to indicate that we're in a low-tech world at best, so advanced forensics techniques like DNA profiling is out. Instead we're going to have to rely on low-tech things like witnesses. Sadly, criminals are well aware of the standard means of identifying them, so they routinely wear disguises or simply cover their identifying features.

Under those conditions I suspect that criminals will never be caught after the fact. The only time they will be brought to justice is when they are rendered unconscious or somehow unable to escape prior to leaving. Once they're gone, they're safe.

To that end, a society would need to develop some good ways of disabling teleporters. This might be as simple as a gas that produces disorientation or unconsciousness. I imagine that this would become a popular personal defence, like current capsaicin sprays.

Or maybe there's a way to disrupt the ability using some sort of electromagnetic field. A big electromagnet that can be pulsed to disrupt the teleport could also prevent them from leaving, and would probably be used to protect valuable or sensitive locations. The security field from Sanctuary (the TV show) is an example of this.

Once disabled the offender would have to be restrained somehow. I have a bunch of ideas about that, most of which are in the other answers so I won't go into all of them here. Replacing a vital section of a major artery with a device that can be used to track or kill the teleporter remotely would probably be a good permanent solution.

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Constructed universe

How about sedating them and putting them in "the Matrix" where they can't/don't remember they can teleport and then have correctional officers go "Mr. Anderson..."

Or, maybe keep them there until they learn better ways.

Like in an episode of "The 4400" where Tom Baldwin ends up in a constructed world, lives there for several years, falls in love, gets married (oh wait, he was married, but they renewed their vows), etc. All in the blink of an eye. And then to emerge a changed man (so it then can get fumbled away by the showrunners... ok, back on topic...)

Such an experience might change a criminal as well. Especially if it's a "smile you're in a constructed world till you changed your wicked ways"-type of click of a button thing.

Maybe correctional officers are people with this ability, to "drag" people into their world... (I guess therapists and others might also benefit from that ability).

Mental scaring

In an episode of "Star Trek: Voyager" Tom Paris is found guilty of murder and gets to relive the victim's memories of it over and over.

You don't really teleport away from that one.

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Shunning

A person committing an act that the rest of society considers abhorrent is simply completely ignored and cut off from society. IIRC, this is tangentially explored in Ursala K. LeGuin's The Dispossessed.

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  • $\begingroup$ Not a bad (if on the brief side) first post. We invite you to take our tour and browse the help center as and when for guidance as to how we work. Welcome to worldbuilding. $\endgroup$ May 30 at 5:01
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Your prison is inside the Bermuda triangle. This has the weird property that anyone trying to teleport ends up in a random location nearby. By being in this location the natural hand waverium throws off peoples sense of direction and they can no longer jump to where they want to, they just end up in a random place.

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    $\begingroup$ This answer is just funny. I love it. $\endgroup$
    – user85825
    May 29 at 16:49
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they can teleport with them 5 times their weight (they choose what they bring)

Following on to the excellent Ruadhan answer... think the Mafia, and encase them in really big "cement shoes". Just don't throw them in the Hudson River.

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Add some helpful but rare physical properties of elements.

An element or compound could have unteleportable properties - stationarium (or copper)- and could be surgically implanted to replace a chunk of artery. Teleport away and you lose a chunk of aorta.

An element or compound could have sympathetic teleport properties - dynamarium (or lead)- and would always and immediately teleport alongside any teleporting object if within a few meters. A decent mass of this suspended over your head would be released and crush you if you teleport away.

An element or compound could have teleport distortion properties (pick something exotic), and could be refined and arranged such that someone teleporting from or to a spot within a few meters of it could be lensed into a different location - still in the prison for example.

An element or compound could have a kryptonite effect (gold would be fun), preventing teleportation within a certain range.

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  • $\begingroup$ Nice first post, good breadth and suggestions. Welcome to Worldbuilding, enjoy our wonderful tour and read-up in the help center about how we work. (From review) $\endgroup$ May 30 at 8:23
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Could one's teleportation abilities be linked to some kind of nutrient from food? If so, then one can be rendered unconscious until all traces of said nutrient have been metabolized and this person is fed a diet that does not contain the particular nutrient required for teleportation; this allows incarceration to continue.

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Range

The Teleportation could have certain range much lower than the radius of many deserts of the world. Then, societies could place their prisons in the middle of a desert and make the desert a forbidden zone so that criminals have never traveled to a target in teleport-range.

Prisoner transport to/from prison would be done with unconscious prisoners. That would only work if conscience is required to learn a new location as teleport-target.

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  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to the Worldbuilding SE! I just wanted to take a moment and point out that this post doesn't really answer the question asked. The OP already laid out clear guidelines to how the teleportation would work; their question was on how, with that style of teleportation, criminals could still be punished. I hope that helps, and good luck! $\endgroup$ Jul 17 at 16:21

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