The future. What will it be like? Flying cars? Mars vacations? Dippin’ Dots? These are questions for greater minds than our own, but there are at least a few minds thinking about one particularly ugly corner of the future: prisons. According to an interview with Aeon Magazine, Oxford philosopher and future jail expert Rebecca Roache thinks the future is going to be a deeply unpleasant time for inmates.

As biotech companies pour billions into life extension technologies, some have suggested that our cruelest criminals could be kept alive indefinitely, to serve sentences spanning millennia or longer. Even without life extension, private prison firms could one day develop drugs that make time pass more slowly, so that an inmate’s 10-year sentence feels like an eternity. One way or another, humans could soon be in a position to create an artificial hell.

“Artificial hell.” Interesting choice of words. The article itself goes on to debate the ethics of such a punishment but, well, ethics rarely enter into the modern conversation of how prisoners should be treated. Why should the future be any different? …