Setting: Partially rebuilt post apocalyptic world

Technology: Comparable to early 21st century

Affluence: First-world equivalent

Capital city with a few million people

Extra info concerning setting:

  • Effectively enforced gun ban, even normal police units don’t use them, baton and electroshock weapon is clearly enough
  • Legal but heavily regulated and taxed recreational substances and prostitution
  • Only electronic currency
  • High level of surveillance
  • High taxes but not so bad safety net
  • No easily accessible sources of fossil fuels, mostly used trains powered by hydropower, small amount of private cars using synthetic fuel

As a way of dealing with troublemakers (petty criminals, vandals, people making nuisances for their neighbours, tax evaders, more serious criminals who are supposed to be rehabilitated, opposition members who tried civil disobedience, etc) a special district is designed on the suburbs of capitol. It supposed to look more or less nice, except maybe having fences and checkpoints. Technically speaking, living there is claimed to not be punishment as such, but rather a place where rehabilitation can take place. Depending on the severity of the law violation and recent conduct, the person may be allowed to leave such district for work or other reasonable activity. (using a train, so the only punishment would be a bit longer commuting time)

More serious offenders would have to stay in that district, but there would be employers and more or less all public services. There is a guarantee that with regards to the provision of social services this district would not be treated worse than any other, which is enforced by keeping the spending level equal. However, it is clearly equity of opportunity and not of outcome. One doesn’t have to be convinced to live there but may go on his own will. This is usually because of accompanying some family members.

The aim is to create an area which almost looks like a normal district, gets heavy policing, and the biggest real punishment is that ones neighbours would be rather undesired people. It makes it a bit tricky for anyone to complain that it is cruel to place him among people like him. Needless to say, people who would still violate the law would face further penalties.

OK, so the questions:

  • How to design such district to minimize any damage and increase functionality (“design” has here a wider meaning, most people would put bars in their own windows from their own initiative)?
  • Which extra laws should be implemented there just to protect local population from itself (like for example strict regulation concerning ex. axes or knives)?
  • On which sections should such district be divided?
  • $\begingroup$ Do convicts get provided housing or are they basically forced to still make a living in order to be able to have a roof over their heads? $\endgroup$
    – dot_Sp0T
    Sep 23, 2016 at 20:59
  • $\begingroup$ A bit more complicated system. Each citizen is provided with a kind of housing voucher which can be redeemed on covering total cost of sharing a small flat with a few people, or to cover part of renting cost. (it is treated as part of public services) On the other hand each citzen is expected to pay among other things a tax based on his potential earning capacity, including such convicts. In the mildest form of this punisment person is not forced in such district, but can only reedem such voucher there. $\endgroup$
    – Shadow1024
    Sep 24, 2016 at 8:12
  • $\begingroup$ @Shadow1204 if I understood that right then: They get free, state-provided, housing; They have to pay taxes based on their potential income - if they don't work > no taxes > free housing > no fear to land on the streets $\endgroup$
    – dot_Sp0T
    Sep 24, 2016 at 8:16
  • $\begingroup$ @ dot_Sp0T Maybe (as non-native speaker I expressed it not clearly) "Potential" - based on how much would they earn if they were working full time according to their capability. If someone is unable to work (ex. seriously disabled) then indeed no tax. If there were no job offers - no tax. But if gov provides poorly paid public works and someone is technically able to work, then is expected to pay the tax, regardless whether he would accept the offer or not.. $\endgroup$
    – Shadow1024
    Sep 24, 2016 at 8:33
  • $\begingroup$ that still does not mean they will work; and even if they're expected to pay - if they have no money they simply can't - still they get their free housing $\endgroup$
    – dot_Sp0T
    Sep 24, 2016 at 8:34

1 Answer 1


Your fictional concept reminds me of real-world examples of segregated districts. The insert ethnic group here may work in the better parts of town if they have a reasonably clean record, but they may only live in designated areas. Such arrangements may have been formal (South Africa during Apartheid, Europe during German WWII occupation) or informal (wrong side of the tracks).

How do you get employers to offer jobs in the ghetto and not only outside it? If market forces are at work, non-inmate staff will have to be paid more to go in there, so inmate staff must be paid less to remain competitive, or prices go up. Customers who are inmates have to grumble and pay the higher prices, customers who have a choice won't.

So groceries will sell overpriced crap, compared to outside. Factories will be sweatshops. The profits from both will go outside.

Are there significant numbers of non-convicts living there? Why? Family members? People who lived in that street before it became a ghetto? People who can afford nothing better? The latter will only happen if rents in the district are lower than outside. (See above re captive markets.)

Will there be sub-districts for families and other sub-districts for single men? Official checkpoints or inofficial pressure (see below)?

The law enforcement patrolling the district will have to deal with informal conflict resolution systems. Convicts may be afraid to report crimes against themselves, either because they don't want to be called a snitch or because they don't expect justice and understanding from the legal system. (You mentioned that these guys have their first strike. Additional ones will get them to a worse place.) So they will pay protection to organized criminals who control the streets. If law enforcement tries to fight these prison gangs, they will face a fight. So will your setting send in lots of cops, or very few who tread carefully?

Your idea to deny knives or axes to the inmates won't fly if they have to cook for themselves, or maintain their own housing. Banning large knives is pointless, something the size of a steak knife is lethal enough. It may be feasible to require that any knife outside the own home or workplace must be wrapped in several layers of packaging.

  • $\begingroup$ nice you mention problems, it is valid and strong base to implement solution which you talk to few as for my taste. Part of which might be guaranteed place to live, guaranteed food, for all peoples in that society. $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Sep 24, 2016 at 15:26
  • $\begingroup$ Concerning model I more thought of "Miracle Village". Except more people, varried crimes and with official blessing from gov. bbc.com/news/magazine-23063492 $\endgroup$
    – Shadow1024
    Sep 24, 2016 at 20:31
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for idea concerning informal justice systems and knife protection. $\endgroup$
    – Shadow1024
    Sep 24, 2016 at 20:31

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