Free Prison

Jason Stone
3 min readAug 13, 2021

Anarchists tend to prefer a society that regulates itself through voluntary agreement and that avoids resorting to the use of force. However, proportional selfdefense and expressions of disapproval for injuries to person and property are a necessary part of any practical society. One way to meet these needs is through a system of fair trials, boycott and exile — where those who assert that an injury to person or property was a proportional act of selfdefense can experience boycott and exile themselves if the community should disagree. The system for determining if an injury has occurred and what the remedy should be could be based on the common law and it’s organic process of interpreting and apply the law under novel circumstances. Deferring to such a system could be a condition for entering into free agreements of all sorts including agreements that make available guaranteed resources for all participants — where different communities may make available guaranteed resources under different terms, including universal, unconditional access.

There are many ways to implement a system of boycott and exile where the effectiveness of the arrangement at discouraging injuries to person or property may vary. In one instantiation someone who is convicted of causing an injury to person or property could be subjected to an exile or boycott recommendation being sent to all registered parties who could then act upon the recommendation independently. The recommendation might include the suggestion that only basic services and employment be offered for some duration. In the case of very severe injuries, the recommendation might include total loss of membership in an organization such as a place of work, commune, or school. Reapplication may be allowed after some duration. If restitution is required then a exile or boycott recommendation may remain in effect until the restitution has been delivered to an escrow service for the benefit of the injured party.

What role could prison play in such a society? In cases of violent crime many may feel that prison is appropriate and neccessary for the victims to feel safe and satisfied that justice has been delivered. Under what conditions might prison be freely entered into? In the case of a severe injury to person or property all guaranteed resources that are part of membership in a community may be reassigned to a voluntary (free) prison of their choice to encourage them to enter the prison and to cover the cost of their stay. If they should avoid entering a free prison then the duration of the boycott or total exile from a community may be extended compared to the sentence they would serve within a free prison. In some cases, continued membership in a community may only be available to those who enter a free prison for some prescribed term as an alternative to permanent exile.

Communities outside of the community the guilty party is a member of may also receive a boycott or exile recommendation that could make it difficult for the guilty party to relocate during the duration that is recommended. Entering a community from which one has been exiled could be considered a new injury and result in an extended sentence. In the case of violent crimes there could also be conventions for holding someone until a speedy trial could occur. These conventions could also be triggered any time a party convicted of a violent crime enters a community from which they have been exiled. This form of temporary detainment would have to be justified to the community as a legitimate form of proportional selfdefense. Inappropriate use of it could result in the offending party also being subject to exile, boycott, and free prison sentencing.