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Recap / The Outer Limits 1995 S 2 E 22 The Sentence

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The Control Voice: Crime and punishment... an age-old dilemma. Man has long sought a solution to society's ills. But at what point does the punishment itself... become a crime?

A scientist develops a virtual reality device that can compress years of time into a few minutes or hours, proposing it be used instead of prisons on criminals to save time, money, and resources.

The Control Voice: Sometimes it is an easy thing for a man to cry out for retribution until he himself has walked in the footsteps... of those suffering the penalty.
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Tropes:

  • Dream Within a Dream: Dr. Jack Henson believed that he exited the Virtual Reality prison that he created, was convicted of reckless endangerment in causing the death of Cory Izacks and served a 20 year prison sentence. However, he later learns that he had been in the virtual world for the entire time (which amounted to only a few hours in the real world). His guilt at risking Cory Izacks' life created the scenario.
  • Mind Prison: Dr. Jack Henson creates one of these, which works on a Year Inside, Hour Outside basis. Unfortunately, when it's tested on a man named Cory Izacks who - unknown to all - was wrongly convicted, it malfunctions and starts killing him instead. Jack plugs himself into the machine in an attempt to rescue the convict, but fails and goes to jail for second-degree murder. After decades spent in a Hellhole Prison, he awakens to discover that he was just trapped in the simulation: in reality, he managed to save Izacks' life; unfortunately, Jack is left with severe PTSD and convinced his machine must be destroyed. Worse still, the demonstration has managed to impress the observing US Senator Meade, and he plans to have the machine approved for use on the general population.
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  • Older Than They Look: A prison was created where prisoners serve their prison sentence within a few hours. The creator of the prison is trapped inside and serves a 20 year sentence within a few hours, which would mentally make him this trope.
  • Prison Riot: Cory Izacks finds himself in the middle of a riot as soon as he enters the Virtual Reality prison.
  • Tailor-Made Prison: This episode has a mental version of these. People would serve out their sentences within a day of real time, but would in their minds experience their entire captivity in a prison like this.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: This trope is used for a prison.
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