John Hayes
2 min readApr 4, 2022
Black and white photo of a prison complex: multiple cells, just bars upon bars receding into shadow.
Photo by Emiliano Bar on Unsplash

“I ditdo the crime, shine. I doneen know what the crime is, burr. Yet here I am, sitting in this funbox for the next three years cuz m’lord wills it.”

“MLARCD doesn’t will your incarceration, Mister Jagson. Artificial intelligence doesn’t will things.”

“Think I don’t fuckin know already that thing don’t have a soul?!” the prisoner shouted. “You think I don’t fuckin know already I’m on one side the equals sign in a mile-long algebra nobody never seen? Ch. Gittafottaher shine, frill.”

With stoic calm the lawyer waited for him to finish. “The Machine Learning Algorithm for Recurrent Crime Detection is not exactly a ‘mile-long equation’ either, Mister Jagson. It is—”

“You need to stop talking to me like I’m a fuckin child, burr,” he stated without looking at the lawyer, “for I get myself another deck in this confine, sync?”

The lawyer adjusted approach. She still had a high confidence level that Mister Jagson could be convinced. Historically, by her third statement visits of this nature had a greater than 93% success rate.

“You’re right,” the lawyer stated plainly.

The prisoner looked up at her. The success was noted. She continued. “And you know why I am here.” The prisoner looked back at the floor of his cell without reply, a reaction 85% correlated with successful visits. “If you consent to receiving the implant, you may rejoin society on the very day the procedure is finished.”

Mister Jagson said nothing.

“One day, Mister Jagson. Not the 1,082 MLARCD has calculated until you are no longer a danger to your fellow humanity.”

Jagson remained silent, the response she had predicted with three-nines certainty.

A five and a half second pause here was optimal before the closer.

Two. One. “Would you like to get out of this ‘funbox’ and return home, Mister Jagson?” Mister Jagson had a partner, also incarcerated, due out in 932 days. And they had a child, in state care. “Home to Orian,” the lawyer concluded, prodding with the child’s name.

Mister Jagson looked up at the hologram. His expression was stiff, his tone, when he finally spoke, a raspy whisper with a less than 2% correlation with success.

“Donnever lemee hear that name outta…”

The lawyer was already gone.

Jagson was left alone, to live out the remainder of a sentence he’d never know.

MLARCD adjusted to the parameters provided by the outlier Mister Jagson and a few more prisoners. The algorithm was improving each day through these failures. But nobody’s perfect.