The Memory Prison

Neurosurgeons have learned how to keep criminals in prison by just stopping normal neurological functions


1. The Memory Prison - A Short Story

 'This man was once a violent criminal.  He has a mile long police record which included drugs soliciting, murder, and assault.  If he was in a prison and got out he would not change because he would have the same influence that caused him to be in prison in the first place.  Putting him in prison is also equally dangerous.  Inside he influences other prisoners, causes bodily damage and is a huge over burden on taxpayers.'  Dr. Harry Ziegler had said to the United States correction council many years ago.  He was a neuroscientist and neurosurgeon.  Ziegler was wiry man that stood nearly 2 meters with brown hair with streaks of white mixed with the brown.  He was a clumsy giant above his colleagues.  He was a giant in more than just height, he was one of the best neurosurgeons in the world.  Ziegler know this and thought he was a god as he could control the mind with his two fingers.

Dr. Ziegler looked out over this group of doctors in the hall.  He had a patient 1133 stretched out on a metal table while the doctors looked down on up him in a auditorium.  Patient 1133 was a success.

This massive bald white male with a long green snake tattoo stretching from arm to arm looked like he could be a killer.  A normal prison could not contain this guy in a fight. Rehabilitation was already a failure in the criminal justice system.  They helped people make new abilities.  One prisoner said 'I went in a simple drug smuggler, when I came out a drug kingpin when I left'.  The cost of incarcerations with the cost of everything was increasing and the world needed another solution.  So they put the prisoners in plain sight but the prisoners could not remember why they were incarcerated because they could not remember anything.

What if there were prisons where you just could not make new memories and just got older?  This idea started after a medical miracle where they discovered the hippocampus.  He had a bike accident when he was a young man.  The accident left his brain scarred resulting in violent seizures.  With little drugs to treat the seizures a doctor decided to remove the part of the brain that was causing it.

Lucky for H.M. this part of the brain, the hippocampus, reduced the seizures, unluckily they caused him to lose part of his memory.  At the time the doctors did not know that the hippocampus was like a relay station or the central CPU of the brain.  It allowed the small memories to come from the signalling parts of the brain like the eyes and the ears and relay them then to form long term memories to other parts of the brain like a hard drive .  With this part being damaged H.M. could not form any new memories and save these memories.  Only part of the memories were lost in the remembering of places, people and ages the so called declarative memory.  However, the procedure memory was still in place so HM could tie his shoes, cook and do things so it seemed like he was a normal person.  A normal person that could not make memories.

Many prisons had closed down and the violent criminals were now in the world among normal people.  Normally they were taken away from their place of origin and rehabilitated into a new society.  The criminals with these implants could still learn basic skills but they could not remember the names of who taught them, the places that they live or other declarative memories.  This disruption caused them to forget all the criminal behavior they might want to do because that impulse was gone after 15 seconds.  They could still perform procedure memory and several criminals were used on farms and in factories.  The treatment allowed society to function.

There were estimated up to 2 million roaming criminals that had their hippocampus temporary 'blurred'.  The blurring was a term the judges liked to refer to this change in memory.  Society had accepted them and their perceived slow abilities was tolerated.  They were taken in by society as they were a product of it.  Of course some of the criminals were abused or killed by their victims but for the most part society tolerated these criminals and put them to use.

This took their lives though.  The criminals got older and could not remember anything that happened or were incapacitated to remember things during the time that they were blurred.  Their speech slowed, the things they liked were gone.  Their emotions were not responsive as they once were.  Rage, lust, and pain faded into nothingness.  When they first started these trials a huge debate erupted around this saying that it was unethical and barbaric.  The economic gain however was difficult to dispute.  Also mothers, fathers, sons and daughters could be in plain sight to be hugged even if they had very little response to those hugs. 

Eventually people got used to it.  There were few patients that stayed this long under this system.  Patient 1133, or John Walker, was the longest.  The doctor took out the chip that stopped the memories in the hippocampus.  Patient 1133 opened his eyes on the clean metal hospital gurney in the auditorium.  He opened his for the first time and could remember opening his eyes.  The circuit was incomplete and for 10 years of his life and for the most part he could not remember anything that happened 10 minutes before.   And then suddenly John Walker remembered.  Somehow the memories were stored along each of the sensory pathways and this information came flooded his brain.  It started as if as if he was travelling in a car at a high speed trying to read every sign post.  He only got glimpses of every sign post but processed the information that it was green with an arrow and some words.  This happened with all his senses encompassing him like a tidal wave.  John Walker started convulsing on the cold metal table in front of 60 neurosurgeons, neuroscientists and other onlookers.

Dr. Ziegler stood up and gave John a small amount of drug to calm the mind.  The convulsions stopped and John lied on the table while the car that was speeding in his mind slowed down.  He opened his eyes and everything was in the present at a speed that things that could be processed. White fluorescent lights shown down on him.  His nostrils sensed the faint smell of bleach and nothingness.   His hands felt the cold steel operating table.  And John heard the barretone of Dr. Ziegler's voice.

Flashes of memories came back to him. A series of beatings by people that targeted the blurred.  When you have people that cannot remember who beat them it is much easier to get away with it.  John remembered being tied up and molested.  He remembered being treated like human garbage where he worked shovelling for hours until he collapsed, moving material until he collapsed and collapsing from not remembering to eat.  The pain he felt during that time was relived on the table.

Dr. Ziegler went on inspecting John.  He checked his heart rate with a portable EKG machine.  Dr. Ziegler did a brain scan with a hand held FTIR to the brain connections.  He opened John's eyes to do a neurological test.  He lifted the eyelids shining a light to see if his pupil's dilated.  Dr. Ziegler looked down into black pupils and only saw rage back.  John opened his eyes and sat up which startled Dr. Ziegler.  His clumsy two meter frame stumbled back.  John reached out and Ziegler's head unsteadily hit the floor.  Ziegler's upper body was moving faster back to escape the tattooed man's grasp.  The doctor's arms and legs flailed like an octopus on cocaine while his colleagues looked down at him.  He hit the floor head first with a thud.  John sat on the table looking down at Ziegler as he fell.  Ziegler body stopped flailing and he stretched out across the floor gently twitching.  Some of the doctors ran down to the operating room.

Ziegler awoke from a coma weeks later.  He could not remember anything of the day he fell.  Other neurosurgeons discovered that his hippocampus was ruptured when he hit the floor.  Ziegler's mind was blurred and his memories only lasted a merely 10 minutes before they vanished.  He was possibly the only person that could save himself from this eternal memory prison.

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