I much prefer the Liam Neeson-Geoffrey Rush version of ‘Les miserables’ than the musicals. But I can use the new 2012 film musical as an excuse to talk about the injustice of the penal system.
I don’t believe in involuntary prisons. At most, asylums for deranged murderers. But incarcerating criminals itself would be needless in a society that affirms private property. This would mean those convicted after a voluntary trial can be ostracized and prohibited by property owners from stepping foot or availing of their goods and services.
In addition, if people find a tracking service worthwhile, the whereabouts of such offenders can be known at all times as well, and this need not be contrary to a ‘right to privacy’ since such a right concerned is that of property owners and not the criminal, and property owners would be voluntarily assisting the trackers as necessary.
A criminal will thus be deprived of things to the degree that individuals in a society frown on certain crimes. This may even be more restrictive than a system that coerces people via taxes to pay for prisoners’ lodging, or for their execution for that matter.
‘Les miserables’ as example
In ‘Les miserables,’ the only reason Jean Valjean is oppressed in so incommensurate a manner to his crime of stealing a loaf of bread, is the monopoly on arbitration and reprisal as exercised by the state and (ab)used by Javert.
Whereas, if the limiting of one’s mobility was an option rather than coerced, people would be less begrudging if Valjean refused the recommendations made by any convicting court (for convictions in a stateless society could only be recommendatory). And considering the extreme circumstances that impelled Valjean to steal, it is unlikely that competitive courts would be too hard on Valjean. Furthermore, he and his family would be more likely to receive aid, rather than be shunned by members of the community.
‘Les miserables’ can easily be cited as supportive of ‘social justice,’ meaning, for most people, state intervention as a means of uplifting the plight of the less fortunate. In fact, it is only by affirming private property in full, and eliminating the monopoly of the state and any conceivable mandate for it — including of helping the poor — that the desired ‘social justice’ — whatever that’s supposed to mean — can come about.