In many of the towns of the Western Bogs there are no prisons. Not because they aren't needed, but because an entirly different method is used.
When convicted, which is normally a slow process, the criminal and a warden or two head out into the bogs. Before this the criminal is often kept in the stocks until sentenced. He is sentanced by a council of the heads of households, the coulncil only meets once every 2 weeks unless if here is an emergency.
When convicted the Offender is given a shovel and told to dig straight down for a day, at the end of the day the shovel is taken from them. They stay in the hole. The Guard then places a extremly heavy grate over the hole and the prisoner is left there. The grate extends a good meter to the side of the hole usually.
In the winter the tempature will get up to about -5 C(20 F) at midday and is known to drop below -25 at night. The shovel has a Helspar tip, and during the winter the prisoner is given a blanket and about five coals to keep themselves alive during the night.
During the summer it's worse. If you managed to dig down deep enough to stand up/kneel you'll be like that all night, with water at your chin, many don't manage to get it that deep because of all the water that floods the hole while they are trying to dig. And during the night many are literally eaten alive by the many bugs/rodents/things that inhabit the marsh.
Needless to say many prefer death, or even exile, to imprisonment, because if they are given a more than one day's sentance, they are often given a week, they've been doomed to a death more painful and ignble than the gallows. At the end of the night they are pulled out of the hole and forced to dig another, no more than a hundred feet away so that the animals will be able to find them with less trouble this night.
IF someone manages to survive this they often die soon after leaving the bog. The infecton of the bites tends to kill them, or they die of diseases cause by having to drink the bog water. However, they are feed. Quite well in fact, almost 1 and a half rations. You see, it wouldn't be quite as cruel if the prisoner died of starvation now would it?
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? Responses (12)-12
Who is in charge of administering this justice? Who does sentencing, who guards people while they build their own prison? Can people not dig out? (If my choices were try to dig out of earth or stand still in swamp I know which I would choose. And by nature a swamp should be easy to dig through. And the worst that could happen is you die trying... oh well!) Why is it so cold in winter? Swamps are usually pretty warm, and especially buried in a bioactive pit it should be quite 'comfortable', if wet, in winter unless there is a special weather system. I like the general idea, but wish it were fleshed out more.
Are suspected criminals put through this whilst awaiting trial? I wish the UK had a prison system like this,LOL.
Okay, Zy. a bog is not nessacarily warm in winter. This would be further north if you're going to be getting at the -5 at midday. A bog would only be a 'bog' about half the year then. In the winter you'd have frost going down into the ground a good ways, and probably permafrost a bit deeper. On the digging during summer, when it is wet and soggy. You ever try to dig a hole in a lake bottom? The water will fill it in, and a bog is a lot of standing water. The farthest down you could probably dig before you hit the water level would be 6 in. Then your pulling more water out of the hole than substrate.
Ill work on the penal system and pos it. As well as fix stuff to this sucker.
It's true bogs can be cold, and with the water it would be especially unpleasant. I wasn't meaning to be difficult - I like the post :-)
Updated: Added content
If such punishment as this prison system is common enough to be accepted by the peasantry and middleclass of a kingdom, it is likely that this land will be rife with power hungry corruption at the top of the systems structure. Informants might be pretty common as well, 'better them than you.' A criminal might rat out just anyone to not be caged in that bog.
I like this. A lot.
It's easy to adapt to a special setting or world. A good base for adding details.
Here's an oubliette if I ever saw one. I actually LOVE this P! A somewhat mundane, but morbid addition to any world! Love the feel of cold, misty bog prisons!
I can't wait to do something like this to my heroes. They'll be real happy when their flintlocks and crossbows get sopping wet from being flung into the mud. In fact, I don't even know if they'll be able to escape.
beautifully atmospheric, despite its simplicity. I like this a lot!
for some reason, i get "Cool Hand Luke" flashbacks.
'You can judge a society by how well it treats its prisoners'
Ugh, that sounds awful, seem like a death sentence to me,
What is a helspar? I assume it is something like a lighter, but never heard of it before.