Public Spectacle by WR Maxwell
Planet xz345 delta was founded in 2103 as a penal colony for the galaxy’s antisocial criminals. Most prisoners were male, and while their sentences were limited, there was no way off the planet when they were released. By 2230, the non-prison population was nearly 2,000,000, 86% male. Females were highly prized, and jealously protected by their husbands. But with its large population of men, the crime of rape was common. Thus in order to satisfy the male libido and maintain order, prostitution was legalized and bordellos licensed with a small number of off-world whores. A single female could satisfy the sexual desires of a dozen or more men each day. The sex workers were protected from abuse, clients were protected from diseases, and the whole industry was taxed to generate revenue. While sex between unmarried people was not considered a crime, sex outside of marriage, with a partner who was not a whore, was strictly forbidden. Although stiff fines were imposed for offenders, it did little to curb unlawful sex. This led to more severe penalties, including M/f, some F/m, incarceration, behavior modification, public humiliation, and physical disfigurement in the form of branding, caning and spanking.
Psychologists believe a great deal can be learned about a society by studying their system of justice and criminal punishment. The following is a portion of an article from the Interplanetary Journal of Criminal Psychology, which offers evidence of the social and the cultural conditions on planet xz345 delta.
HUMAN BRANDING in the OUTER COLONIES in 2417
On the outer edges of human expansion, the practice of branding, as a form of punishment, has been reinstated and on several planets petty criminals and social deviants are subjected to this ancient method of reprimand (Survey of Interplanetary Justice). In these distant societies, where the human population is very small and therefore labor very scarce, every person’s production is viewed as necessary for the growth of the planet (Colonization Handbook, 2 ed.). The imprisonment of criminals for non-violent and minor infractions of the local social code is viewed as counter productive to the planet’s larger objectives. For these remote societies, the punishment of branding provides a simple and permanent means of identifying a person’s character, but does little to restrict the person’s productivity (Workers Injuries and Productivity Assessment). In addition, public branding has a supplemental benefit of being a deterrent for the rest of the local population. The society on planet xz345 delta is an example where this form of punishment has been adopted and is widely accepted. This article will illuminate the social benefits and costs of the practice.
Earth-Side Branding – A Brief History
For those readers who are not familiar with ancient Earth history, branding of a nobleman’s property was common on old Earth in the Middle Ages. English common law allowed for ‘branding of a nobleman’s goods and chattel’, which included common livestock and human slaves (Property Rights in the English Isles 1000 to 1300). The branding of petty criminals, especially facial branding, was common on old Earth in several archaic cultures. It was viewed not only as a form of punishment, but also as a means of designating the ‘undesirable’ people in the society (W. Wilson’s Cultural Anthropology, 7th ed). The practice of human branding was abolished in the civilized world (Europe) after the reign of Elizabeth I (Property Rights, ibid.). In more primitive Earth-side cultures, this practice continued into the mid-1900s (Forman and Stevens, The World Amnesty Project).
Recent History on xz345 Delta
Planet xz345 delta was originally founded in 2103 as a penal colony for many of the galaxy’s criminals with a genetic predisposition for antisocial behavior. Most of these prisoners were male. They had limited sentences but were unable to buy transport off of xz345 delta when they were released. After the intense influx of colonists from neighboring systems between 2210 and 2230, the non-prison population of the planet was 1,934,753, however it was 86 percent male (Vital Statistics Dept., xz345 delta). The few female inhabitants of the planet were highly prized, when they are single, and jealously protected by their husbands when they are married. The high male population created several hindrances to normal human social interactions and many challenges to the law enforcement agency of the newly created planetary government. The crimes of rape and adultery were particularly bothersome (Crime Statistics of xz345).
By 2350, after decades of failed policies intended to punish sexual misconduct, the planet’s governing body, in order to satisfy the natural male libido and to maintain social order, legalized the regulated sale of sex (Code of xz345). They created rules and regulations for the licensing of bordellos (ibid), populated by a small number of sex workers, formerly known as prostitutes, whores, harlots, etc. under this system, a single female could satisfy the sexual desires of dozens of male clients each week. The sex workers were protected from abuses, the clients were protected from diseases and the whole industry was taxed to generate much needed revenue (Financial Audits of xz345).
The Present Condition on xz345 Delta
To further strengthen this self-imposed system of morality, sexual relations between individuals when one, or both, are married, but not to each other, and when neither individual is a licensed sex worker, is classified as statutory adultery and made a crime on planet xz345 delta (Code, ibid). Sex between unmarried people is not considered a crime under the law (ibid), but is culturally discouraged. At first, if a man and a woman did not utilize the legally available sexual outlets the persons were fined. This, however, did little to curb sexual relations outside of marriage and outside of the legalized bordello system. Heightened penalties were imposed, which eventually included incarceration (ibid), but the reduction in adultery was a mere 14 percent (Crime, ibid) and jail space was in short supply. Finally, in desperation, the planetary government endorsed a regimen of behavior modification based on the recommendations of W. T. Gorman ,PhD, an experienced behavioral psychologist. These recommendations were published (Journal of Criminal Psychology v239, is47) and were largely based on peer pressure through public humiliation and physical disfigurement, in the form of branding.
Except for habitual offenders, the brands for adultery are not publicly visible. However, on xz345 delta, the brands are intended to be quite noticeable during intimate sexual relationships, such as those between a groom and his new bride on their wedding night. The main purpose for branding adulterers is to discourage repeat promiscuous behavior. A secondary purpose is to make an example for the general population by having the actual branding turned into a public spectacle. Anesthetics are not allowed, therefore the branding is always painful. Also, by design, the branding for the crime of adultery is very humiliating. An unmarried woman branded as an adulteress will frequently move to another village (Vital, ibid) where her reputation is not spoiled. If a woman is caught cheating on her husband, the wronged male is given the opportunity to apply the red-hot iron himself, even though he is not licensed to do so (Code, ibid). This practice seems to be based on the English common law stated earlier. Despite local variations, there is a set of planetary guidelines for the branding of all criminals on xz345 delta and the branding for adulterers is covered under these rules (Code, et al). Since the crime of adultery is often repeated, these guidelines call for the progressively more painful branding for repeat offenders. The local judicial authority is give considerable latitude for ‘creative punishment and sentencing’ provided the penalty falls within the planetary guidelines for branding (Code, ibid). . .
The article describes, in great detail, the progression of painful brands for the crime of adultery. The article explains the standard punishment, in addition to several colorful variations, starting from a small and rather harmless brand applied to the buttocks for the first offense. The article concludes with graphic descriptions of genital branding of an adulterer, or adulteress, convicted of a seventh offense. It is under these cultural conditions that the following story begins.