One way to cut down on prison maintenance costs, as well as cutting down on prison violence, would be to fully automate the processing of prisoners from the minute they enter, through daily tasks, to the final exiting of the prison (apologies for the cattle-like language usage). And while most prison facilities have some form of computerized automation, most still require human involvement in mundane tasks, mainly involving the movement of prisoners around the system, leading to dangerous situations for both the guards as well as the prisoners themselves.
The proposed semi-automated prison system consists of a number of drop-in cubicle-like pods: general living quarter pods, hygiene pods (shower & sink), and could even be amended with leisure pods: computer-based library pod, gym pod, etc. These pods run on rails and are dropped into place as needed, similar to the cubes presented in the movie "Cube", only less booby-trapped. Consider the following scenarios:
• Prisoner gets to use the showers at 7am every day. However, for whatever reason, the prisoner refuses to move from his/her cell. A system operator realizes this, and activates the moving walls that gently nudge the person in the direction of the cell door. The shower pod gets lowered into place before the cell door opens, allowing the prisoner to use the facilities.
• Prisoner has completed a given task, and is rewarded for the completion by dropping the gym pod into place.
• Prisoner is a model "guest", and has earned extra-special privileges: A pod replete with small patch of grass, tree/shrubs, simulated bird song, and a window with a view of the sky is lowered into place.
• A prisoner has died. The moving walls activate, shoving the deceased into a waiting incineration pod.