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I'm currently watching The Flash season 1 episode 12 and they keep throwing people in this private prison they built.

I wonder how this fits into the show. I can't really explain what bugs me with this private prison concept but it simply doesn't feel right to me.

Barry is such a lawful and morale person; why isn't he concerned when they put people into an estimated 1m² big cell without anything in it.

It feels like this is psychological torture to me. How do they inmates even get food or visit the bathroom?

I really like the show so far but this really starts to bug me alot.

  • They kind of abandon it after a while. It's come up before and the comments are much along the lines you mention. Mostly it's handwaved away. – Paulie_D Nov 2 '16 at 9:48
  • Not all meta humans are kept in those special cells. Names like Pied Piper and the recent Magenta come to mind who are not in those cells; the latter was released right after she was defeated. So, only those are kept who have no chance to become good again. As that of food, check this SF&F post. – user33741 Nov 2 '16 at 11:15
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Spoilers ahead:

Barry, while moral, is a super powered vigilante out of a sense of moral duty (With Great Power comes some thing something, to misquote that other franchise). He has grown up victimized by a super powered villain, giving him a complex about what's right, not necessarily what's legal. When he first puts someone in the particle accelerator, it's out of pure necessity. Where else will they put someone with super powers? Regular jail won't hold them, as you can see throughout the season:

Multiple break in and break outs happen at Iron Heights, by The Reverse Flash, by the teleporting girl, and by non supers with super weapons like Snart and Heatwave.

They constantly mention how bad of an idea the jail is, and when Detective West finds out, he calls Barry out on it, his captain bluntly calls it a human rights violation, they compare Barry to that green guy with an anger problem that shoots people with arrows and has a private prison island. Eventually they try to transfer the evil metas to said prison with the help of the black ops government group Argus but Barry is foiled by his own petards and they all escape.

Eventually, the Star Labs scoobies provide the civilian police the technology to suppress meta powers at Iron Heights, once the police publicly acknowledge Metas existence and form the Meta Human Task Group. Which allows the heroes to regain the moral high ground.

As to eating, we see them bring some of the prisoners fast food in season 2. The bathroom is not discussed, as per normal on tv and movies, but there was a twitter or tumbler post saying that Cisco also built a head into the prison cells.

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The jails are not equipped to handle people with the powers metahumans have. In Season 2,

Star Labs helps Iron Heights Prison to build a metahuman wing,

alleviating that particular problem.

As to the question of eating or bathroom facilities, they have never explained how any of that works. Perhaps the field that suppresses powers also suppresses bodily functions. ;-)

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