The Justice Tech Download
40 Futures
40 Futures: v1.09 Chipped

40 Futures: v1.09 Chipped

40 Futures is a speculative fiction series about the criminal justice system.


James looked down at his trembling left hand. There were burns on his wrist. The doctor, continuing the examination, moved his shackles to better assess his swollen ankles and feet. 

“How’s it to walk right now?” asked the doctor.

“Shaky. It doesn’t feel right,” James responded, “even when I’m not chained up.”

Taking a second look at his wrists, the doctor took a step back. “It’s lithium poisoning.”

James was visibly skeptical. “You seem confident for not taking blood or anything.”

“I can take blood, but it’s just going to tell me you’ve got lithium pumping around in you,” she said. “I keep seeing this, it’s that cheap embed-tech the Department of Corrections requires—the batteries leak.”

James looked at his arm and then back at the doctor. “So, what can I do about it? It’s killing me, right?”

“Well, the good news is that you’ll most likely recover. The tremor, the swelling, the burn, it’ll all heal up once we remove the problem, which we’re going to do now.” She reached for an alcohol pad and a scalpel. “The bad news, however, is that I have to insert a new one in your other wrist. Fingers crossed this one isn’t garbage.” 

“Wait, so you’re just gonna set me up to be back here in a month?” His face was sour.

“It’s the law, James.” She paused. “Plus, how are you going to buy your Funions at the commissary or keep up on your remote medical evals without it?”

“Didn’t you take some oath or something?” All the indignities of incarceration left James agitated. “Do no harm?” 

“Well, I’m removing the harm and there’s a nine-in-ten chance you won’t be back here,” the doctor jocularly spat back. “So, give me your wrist.”


Links from the podcast commentary

44,000 prison inmates to be RFID-chipped. (ZDNet)

Prisoners “to be chipped like dogs.” (Independent)

NY state senator proposes using GPS implants to track violent convicts. (CBS)

Citizen reportedly plans to test a private security partnership in Chicago. (Verge)

Witnesses didn’t say a bank robber had facial tattoos. So police digitally altered a suspect’s mugshot. (Washington Post)

The Justice Tech Download
40 Futures
40 vignettes about the future of criminal justice.