To be eligible for Social Correction, Sargun society must deem that person guilty of a "crime," which is as simple as accruing over 500,000 downvotes in the Master Feed. The Department of Corrections detains the criminal and forces them a week-long apology tour where, at the end of the tour, the detainee will be forced to undergo Social Correction if his or her total number of downvotes runs in excess of 10 million.
Social Correction is performed in the Department's Z Chamber, a special operating room. The detainee is strapped to a chair, and a helmet is attached. The procedure damages portions of the brain, leaving them docile and meek, but also simple and emotionless. Correction is a traumatic procedure, and the victim incurs permanent, irreversible brain damage similar to a frontal lobotomy.
Social Correction emerged in Sargun civilization from the society's desire to punish those who run afoul of their social norms. Sargun civilization's rule by majority vote assumed the place of a judiciary, and the Department of Corrections assumed the the role of police force and bailiff. Society decides whether the punishment of correction is deserved not on the basis of fact but on sentiment. Helmsman Gordon Malloy likened their system of crime and punishment to "government by American Idol."
In mid-2419, Planetary Union anthropologists Tom and Lewis are detained for failing to offer their seat to a pregnant woman. Tom is later killed attempting to flee his apology tour, but Lewis completes and fails his. The Department "corrects" him and returns him to his apartment in the city. Lewis, once corrected, says he is "better now... healthier and happier." Back on board the USS Orville, Doctor Claire Finn reports that Lewis's damage is indeed irreversible.
Several months later, Navigator John LaMarr is detained for performing a "lewd act on a public statue" of Sargun folk hero Mella Giffendon. His downvote tally exceeds 500,000 and he is forced to go on an apology tour. However, Isaac cleverly hacks their Master Feed and pollutes their chat with 30 million fabricated messages in support of John. Isaac's efforts are enough to turn the tide of public opinion and John is spared Social Correction.
- ↑ The name "Z Chamber" is provided in The World of the Orville. Bond, Jeff, Titan Books at 149 (2018).