Steps to Salvation Justice System
Before I published my book, some beta readers did not like the fact that in my novel after the Armageddon War, the descendants of the world’s most repulsive evildoers like Hitler and Stalin, and privileged political elites like the Bush and Clinton dynasties are forced to relocate to Arusha Africa for the Race Unity Experiment.
Aside from an obvious plot device (there would be no story otherwise), I had very compelling reasons for doing this:
- It ties in with the concepts of atonement (restoration of the name to goodness) and reincarnation
- It provides an entertaining method of educating readers about the crimes of the real people
- It’s a practical way to explain my concepts for various industries through specific characters
So while I understand the distaste of “collective punishment,” from a fictional and educational point of view it was very important to send characters off to Arusha to make restitution. Please remember that they are not forced into a prison but instead a lovely, if isolated, neighborhood where they still enjoy modern conveniences like up-to-date technology, cars, good schools and access to food and clean water.
When collaborating on the book, I agreed to the selection of sociopath Charles Manson as the representative of the Salvation Time Justice System without even knowing his full story, aside from the obvious. In Step One during the mandatory history exam the student Charles Manson (a descendant of the real guy 400 years into the future) is called upon by Mr. Bauer to explain the difference between the End Days Justice System and the one currently used in the year 2412:
“Of course sir, my apologies!” he exclaimed, “I didn’t mean to get ahead of myself. Uh anyway, back in the End Days, the prison system in just about all countries throughout the world was run by your corrupt, hell-on-earth, End Times governments. Even though the death penalty was enforced in some places, most convicted criminals enjoyed their long sentences within the confines of a prison.”
“So you are telling us that these criminals actually liked being in prison, Mr. Manson?”
“Sir, I say ‘enjoy’ because even prisoners who’d committed evil crimes had privileges that much more deserving citizens didn’t. Like soldiers who put their lives on the line defending freedom or law-abiding poor people who couldn’t afford to feed their families even though they had jobs and worked hard.
“In the End Days prisoners were well-fed and got plenty of exercise. They also had lots of books and if they wanted it they could have a higher education. And these are just a few of the perks they got. So even if they’d been found guilty of murder and other violent, vicious crimes they could still eat, drink, exercise and earn a degree—all paid for by taxpayers’ because corrupt governments controlled the prisons. And the revenue these governments collected from good working
men and women were partly used to sustain the prison system.
“In Salvation Time though, we are in an Age of Responsibility. This means that when you’re convicted of a crime and sent to prison, your punishment is just beginning. You’re pulled out of society so you cannot harm anyone else but you get a choice of whether or not to work while you’re there. Being a prisoner during Salvation Time means being productive—you are sentenced to live in a new kind of prison run by a smart, streamlined Salvation Time government. This prison is an independent city within Sin City that produces electricity, manages waste, provides utilities, manufactures products and grows food for its surrounding communities.
“In Salvation Time, convicted criminals are sent to prison not just to protect the innocent and punish them for their crimes, but also to help them become productive human beings and better people. Each prisoner has a choice of learning a new skill—landscaping, growing food, repairing electrical equipment, manufacturing useful products—whatever skills are needed. When they’re paroled after serving their time these practical skills help them find a job in the ‘real world’. If they can find a job, chances are they won’t go back to a life of crime and end up in prison again. That
happened a lot in the End Days. In Salvation Time, working prisoners get paid for the jobs they do, but at lower wages than in mainstream society. Every convict has his own bank account to pay back his victims and send money to his family back home. Criminals who work must open a bank account so they can make payments to their victims and take care of their families.
“Unlike in the End Days the Salvation Days prison system is designed to rehabilitate its prisoners, to help them positively change their lives. But if a prisoner wants to stay in jail even after his time is up, he can. He can create a life within the prison system. This is another big change from the way the prison system worked back in the End Days. For many criminals knowing they can stay if they want to is comforting because life on the outside is just too hard for them. So it’s good for them and good for society.”
During the research phase of the book, it became very clear why Charles Manson was such a great pick as the character who would help explain the justice system — something we incorporated into the dialogue in Step One:
“Mr. Manson, do you believe your ancestor Charles would have done much better under a Salvation Time prison system?” The teacher obviously knew the answer but wanted to draw it out of the student to assist him in his own understanding and development.
“Yes sir I do,” Manson replied confidently. “Not only was my ancestor Charles unable to cope with normal life, he was also a vegetarian. Growing his own food on a Salvation Days prison would have been a productive way for him to spend his time. We know from his imprisonment on Terminal Island that he indulged his love of music. He wrote song lyrics, learned to play the guitar and studied Scientology. When his time there was up he begged the authorities to let him stay, knowing he wasn’t capable of being a productive, non-violent citizen.
“But they wouldn’t let him stay in the prison. They sent him back into society where he soon found the Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco and hallucinogenic drugs. There my ancestor Charles also found sexual freedom because at the Haight-Ashbury there were no restraints on sex at all. It was an ‘anything goes’ type of life. Once Charles Manson understood that illegal activity was no longer needed to satisfy his urges he began to organize the ‘Manson Family.’ He recruited its first member during his time at the Haight-Ashbury—her name was Mary Theresa Bruner—but she was only the first of many young girls Manson lured into his violent, drug-infested world.”
Suddenly, the student realized he’d been intensely staring at his teacher during this entire monologue, a habit he’d inherited from his ancestor.
“Sir, I apologize,” he said to Mr. Bauer. “I certainly did not mean to stare at you so harshly while giving my answer. It is a habit I am trying to break.”
“Understood Mr. Manson,” he replied sympathetically. “Is there anything else you would like to add before I calculate your grade?”
“Yes, I would like to say that as guilty as my ancestor Charles Manson was—and he was definitely guilty—I would also like to let the class know when I did my research, I felt sorry for the guy. He was born to a poor, unwed 16 year-old mother who became a prostitute and totally neglected him. For the first few weeks after he was born he didn’t even have a real name. He was called ‘No Name Maddox’ before his mother finally called him Charles Milles Maddox. She married a guy named William Manson, which is how Charles ended up with that last name. But the marriage didn’t last.
“Manson’s mother was a drunk. She even sold him once to a childless waitress for a pitcher of beer! His uncle had to go get him days later. Then Manson’s mother spent five years in jail for burglarizing a West Virginia service station, so Charles was placed in the home of his aunt and uncle. When Manson’s mom was finally paroled, she physically embraced him—an incident he would later describe as his only happy childhood memory.
“But after that, his mother made it very clear she didn’t want anything to do with him. She even tried to put him in a foster home to get rid of him. When none was available, the court placed him in a boys’ school in Indiana. He ran away from it 10 months later to go back to his mother, who rejected him again.
“I mean, can you imagine your own mother being so cruel?”
There’s much more to the student-teacher interaction than I am posting here (you’ll have to read the book for the full answer) but I want to clarify once more that I am NOT condoning evil, making excuses for Manson’s crimes or suggesting he didn’t deserve his punishment. As I stated in my last post, evil must be confronted with courage, logic and common sense. Part of that involves a total overhaul of the current prison system into one that actually encourages hard work, moral and spiritual development, and the option of staying imprisoned for life if the convict cannot handle the obligations and demands of civilized society. All with the understanding that God allows ten percent of the population to commit horrible acts of violence and murder to give the rest of us the opportunity to do the right thing.
In Step Three, Mr. Bauer and his class have an opportunity to visit the Sin City Salvation Time Prison in Fort Lauderdale Florida where their knowledgeable tour guide Alan (named for a good friend of mine) shares the success of this new system for both the guilty and the innocent:
Alan opened the gate and led them to a long, canopied electric tram car that would provide easy access to the grounds while keeping them as cool as possible on this cloudless summer day. Their driver nodded and smiled as they boarded while Alan connected to the wireless speakers embedded in the car. Once all were safely seated, the tram rolled out to their first destination, the for-profit farm. Alan explained that the Sin City prisoners raised all of the produce and animals under the watchful eye of designated prison managers. These working prisoners had opted to be productive; therefore they were all compensated for their labor but at a much lower rate than their counterparts on farms outside of the prison system. Many used this money to make restitution to their victims and provide for their families back home. Because they’d chosen to work, they also had the benefit of a monthly conjugal visit with a Sin City prostitute, internet and satellite television access, high-quality food and well-made clothing. Most importantly, they also enjoyed shelter within the air-conditioned building where they were provided the basics of a comfortable bed and private shower, sink and toilet. While far from extravagant, these accommodations were clean and even included a kitchenette, plain chest of drawers, nightstand, chair and small closet.
However, prisoners who were lazy and refused to work were relegated to a special tented area outside where a common bathroom provided them with stalled toilets and a common shower area. While their nutritional needs were met with food and water, their cuisine was simple and bland. These prisoners were forbidden any contact with Sin City prostitutes and denied access to the internet and satellite television. If at any time during their incarceration a non-working prisoner had a change of heart, there would be a one-week minimum probation period to ensure their work ethic was up to standard before they’d receive the same benefits as productive prisoners.
Charles Manson listened with interest, reflecting back upon his ancestor. He remembered Mr. Bauer asking him during the test if he believed the 20th century Manson would’ve benefited by imprisonment in the Salvation Time justice system rather than the antiquated one of his day. Gazing out at the endless rows of vibrant vegetables cared for by diligent prisoners, Charles felt more certain than ever that his ancestor—as well as his poor victims—would have definitely been better off. Staring at the colorful lettuce, squash, cauliflower, peppers, carrots, tomatoes and corn stretched out over several acres, he was amazed not only by the quality of the produce but also the disposition of the workers. Completely focused on the task at hand, none of them seemed bothered by the intense heat generated by the summer sun. In fact, they appeared to be quite content as they went about their business. Some even looked up at waved at the passing tram car with genuine smiles on their faces.
Alan enthusiastically spoke of how food was so much cheaper for everyday Floridians because of the Salvation Time Prison System. Since it was produced by prisoners earning much less than the going wage, the benefit to the consumer was higher quality food at a much lower cost. Although these food items were sold exclusively at government-run supermarkets, all citizens could shop there. Not surprisingly, government employees preferred them over privately owned grocery stores and supermarket chains.
For the prisoners, this system gave them an opportunity to make real restitution and become better people in the process. Instead of simply being a just punishment for a crime committed, the sentence was also a practical way to prepare them for life on the outside. For those who opted to return to civilized society after completing their sentence the task of finding a good job in the real world was simple and easy—preventing the majority of prisoners from backsliding into a life of crime. For innocent, law-abiding citizens it was also a welcome relief. For many employers, hiring a former inmate of the Sin City Prison System meant adding a good worker to the payroll.
So that’s a brief overview of the Salvation Time Justice System. It’s also important to keep in mind that 400 years into the future the spiritual nature of man is in control of his animal nature — at least in terms of the 90% who are law-abiding citizens and hard-working producers. And in Salvation Time, politicians are mere pencil-pushers who’ve been stripped of the formidable power, influence and wealth they had during the End Days. So when I say that something is “government-run” in Salvation Time, that government is a very limited one that actually works on behalf of individuals, not against them. It’s a concept that’s difficult to wrap our heads around given the current state of the privileged and permanent political class but I’m confident when you read my entire book, you’ll see that.