One-Act Play: “The Actuarials” by A.E. Weisgerber

Characters:

Dr. Peng Ripshaw, The Incarcerator

Dr. Vernon Stackpole, The Rehabilitator

※, The Regressor

Scene:

February 2028, Mindcast via The PubPol ClinX Roundtable, Cleveland Ohio, and Davos, Switzerland

Ͷ Ͷ Ͷ

(Screens flare and flicker)

Ripshaw: A diagnosis is called for …

Stackpole: Do you mean penal? perhaps remedial?

PR: I mean machine-like. Simple computations, basic assumptions

※: I can globally harness strategic infrastructures.

VS: But, criminals are not random samples. They are poorer, physically and mentally.

PR: Thus, criminal law enforcement requires mandatory sentencing.

VS: And sentencing enhancements?

PR: Punishment consists of the deprivation of liberty. Criminals must be incapacitated for long periods of time. Rehabilitation is expensive.

PR: So are the Arts.

PR: And look what has happened to the Arts. Shaken out of an upside-down public pocketbook like old gum wrappers. Focus. It’s expensive to look at social, familial, and neighborhood backgrounds.

VS: And, so, there are competing calculations.

PR: And bureaucracies to manage crime. Numbers allow for aggregation.

※: I can grow next-generation values.

PR: Yes. Probability and risk.

VS: A man stands in court. A woman. Sentencing terminates in a judge’s intellect.

※: I can actualize competing data sets.

PR: Individual treatment is expensive, and prior criminal history is quantifiable and efficient. A place with a low crime rate is likely to continue having a low crime rate. The numbers show it.

VS: It was statistics, after all, that demonstrated at the turn of the twentieth century that love follows psychological laws.

※: Quantitative psychology leaves me nonplussed.

PR: Say what you will, at the turn of the twenty-first century it was clear we must either profile habitual offenders …

VS: Perhaps many are too habitual for three-strikes-and-you’re-out

PR: Drug mules? border smugglers? Man-slaughterers? Intoxicated teens? Does it matter if it is a short-barreled temperament or a semi-automatic premeditation?

VS: Circumstance is indifferent to small numbers

PR: The smallest being one.

VS: Statistics are the silencer.

PR: Numbers are our savior.

※: I will proactively promote sustainable storage.

(A door closes quietly on a soft hinge)

(A soft thud)

(A soft thud)

 

 

***

A.E. Weisgerber has recent work in DIAGRAM, Structo Magazine, The Collapsar, FLAPPERHOUSE, and The Alaska Star. She reads for Wigleaf, and is polishing her first story collection. She thanks Wilhelm Wundt for his views on statistics, science, and love. Follow @aeweisgerber, or visit anneweisgerber.com.

Image: videoblocks.com

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