Topics on this forum like ‘Maxcapping security’ and ‘The Chill Sec Charter’ clearly show that there are some issues with how security operates. I have no doubt that we can never come up with a perfect system and even if we did we would still have complains but I believe that we can still improve since current state of sec is far from good and acceptable. I can bring up a lot of examples how I was personally mistreated even though I’m usually avoiding any conflicts. Things like being thrown into cell without being given any reason are not uncommon, same goes for being put in perma for being ever so slightly associated with antag behaviours. I can’t even count times I died in cell as plasmaman after having my possessions taken off me by someone incompetent (I am actually willing to bet this may be number one cause of plasmamen deaths). Prisoners come and go, they are brought by random officers who immediately leave brig without really consulting it with anyone so nobody knows for what reason someone was put in cell, complains of arrested people are ignored since there’s no one around who would be even able to verify their words when it comes to the reason of arrest and how the process went. This forum, discord and OOC in-game channel are full of such stories.
Before I start let me just apologize for my broken english, haven’t been using it for quite a while. Hope you’ll still manage to get through my wall of text.
So what do I propose?
Security officers should lose cell permissions and be able only to access holding cell. Holding cell is just a temporary solution that is able to hold multiple detainees (however with multiple criminals in one room its easy to lose control so there’s in-game incentive to actually deal with them properly), from that point arrested people are Wardens problem, they should be processed and then moved to proper cells
Mapping changes could be made to accommodate it. I’m more than willing to map it if we would actually decide to go with proposed changes or something similar. This is just an example how it could look:
Also, if someone’s worried about low pop hours we can use already existing mechanism of skeleton crew to actually give cell access to officers or preferably lawyers, which will be explained by my next point
One of the lawyers should be representing prisoners while the other one should be representing Security and Command. That should guarantee that prisoners would be able to actually talk to someone, voice their objections and explain their side of a story. Lawyer representing the prisoner would then discuss that with other lawyer, they would battle it out between themselves and then inform Warden or HoS about their decision which should be binding.
We could prepare fancy forms to make it all more formal, so Warden would receive official document signed by both lawyers that prisoner should be released or their sentence should be shortened.
Court should take place if lawyers can’t reach an agreement and one of the sides requests it.
That would make lawyers actually not useless, with changes made they would be no longer just RP role but have a vital role with sentencing criminals since they can have a say in any case and once agreement between both lawyers is reached it should be followed by Warden.
Currently detectives are security officers with cooler clothes, they sure do act like that. Can’t even count how many times detective ignored or straight up refused to investigate things like cut cams, emagged airlocks to engie or bridge or even poison kits by openly saying they don’t care.
In my opinion detectives should lose brig access all together, they are already special by having a firearm and sec radio to be in the loop when it comes to informations about committed crimes and being in easy touch with officers once they get a breakthrough, I don’t think there’s need for anything more. Let them focus on building cases, collecting evidences, cataloguing them and doing all the ground work needed to get that saboteurs and murderers. Their good work would naturally affect lawyers which would have more to work on so there’s incentive to put some effort since quality of detectives work will be checked by others and if done properly would lead to antagonist getting arrested and sentenced, on the other hand poorly prepared case could lead to them getting released.
Currently trials are just completly made up by people involved, there’s really no official stand on how should they look.
We should actually make proper guidelines, that people are expected to follow.
For minor crimes I recommend there should be just lawyers representing each side and one other person serving as arbitrator. That way trials could be a smooth and fast process, not big event that takes time from multiple heads and is usually a perfect opportunity for some separated incidents to happen. We don’t want trials in most cases to be a big hassle, we don’t want people to get out of their way to actually organize them. It just 3 people, one of them sides with one of two if two can’t reach consensus. That’s all there is to it, so we can have multiple trials each round without slowing down sec department.
We could get heads or jury made of 3 or more crewmates involved in more serious crimes, Those trials could be more like spectacles that we’re used to.
Intercoms in courtroom should be set by default to frequency other than common channel, maybe we could actually get that channel a name and colour. That would both remove spam from common channel and make it easier to follow the trial for people actually interested in it. If needed we could also get that channel a server so it would be possible to check what was said.
I propose we get admins and people who main sec to sit down together and tweak space law so its actually useful for situations that happen in game. Please don’t tell me space law is good as it is, security officer guide on wiki, same wiki that is a source of space law, clearly states ‘You are generally recommended to not follow Space Law for minor and medium crimes’. If space law was actually working as it should there wouldn’t be that annotation.
I believe it would be wise to encourage gulag sentences. Its more impactful to make people actually work to pay off their crimes than just putting them completely out of a game for 3-5 minutes. People with time sentence just go AFK for few minutes and watch YT or something, they don’t feel the weight of the punishment and they are even more disconnected from round once they leave the cell so they are out of the loop about what’s going on and don’t feel that much empathy for other crewmembers. That mindset could only encourage someone to continue being a shitter.
Gulag could be revamped to accommodate more people, we could work out other physical punishments as well. For example I imagine it would be fairly simple to prepare a new location, one disposal outlet is ejecting crates or other objects and players have to pull them to chute on the other part of room/set of rooms. Simple, repetitive job with clear point system. We could probably figure out something better, that’s just off the top of my head.
In my vision of security Warden is the one giving all sentences, making them the first instance in stations judiciary system. Since all sentences are given by the same person, it would make them consistent at least within the round, contrary to what we have now-people arrested for same crime by two different officers get different sentence time. Since Warden is stuck in brig anyway, there’s bigger chance that they would listen to objections of detainees and adjust their crime and punishment instead of sticking to what the arresting officers initially said. Also with one person handling all sentences there’s no more of ‘What are you in for? Why was he arrested? Who arrested him? Guess I’ll leave him to rot in cell with extra long time since I’m not paid nor care enough to find out why that prisoner is actually in cell’.
Then we got lawyers, they would talk to people in cells, get their side of story and question warden and officers or other people involved, then they would argue it out with other lawyer representing Security and Command, they either both agree to change sentence, release prisoner or anything like that and present their decision to Warden or HoS and prisoners status should be changed according to it.
Or if they can’t reach agreement they decide to take it to court.
Trial is really just an arbitration. Lawers present their opinion on how the sentence should be changed. 3rd person (or in case of serious crimes Head or some kind of jury) is siding with one of them and prisoner is treated accordingly.
While my proposal is far from perfect I think its a move in right direction or at least a good starting point for discussion about changes. Not everything could be enforced by gameplay mechanics but at least tweaking sec officers access would force sentencing by just Warden, and that’s a big change in my opinion. Things like following the Chill Sec Charter would be actually possible.