Judge Dredd is a character who hails from a hellish, dystopian universe in which the justice system has degraded to such an extent law and order is a mocking facade of what it used to be and the characters like Judge Dredd are empowered to be, quite literally, judge, jury and executioner with even the most minor crimes being punishable by a gunshot to the back of the head from a toddler-sized hand cannon. A job from which Dredd gets so little reprieve he only rests for about 10 minutes per day.
Hailing from Mega City One, a futuristic near-continent sized city with a close to 98% unemployment rate where crimes as benign as littering and smoking are punishable by prison time. Contrary to what you may have heard from places elsewhere online and the intro to this article, not every crime is punishable by death, however, the prison system is so shit that most criminals will try and book it the instant they see a Judge. A crime which is punishable by death. Now that might difference might sound academic but Judges in the Judge Dredd universe take this shit very seriously.
To explain for anyone who doesn’t realise that the Judge Dredd universe is supposed to be a satire, the whole point of Judges is that them being such dickheads about this sort of thing is, well the point. The fact they view crime in such a binary, black and white manner without concern for stuff like, extenuating circumstances or judiciary discretion is designed to highlight how such forms of justice are inherently unfair.
Anyway, Judges are, an interesting bunch. Fanatical in their devotion to the justice system and unbending in their application of it’s laws, Judges see themselves as the last bulwark of civilisation. The thin line between anarchy and peace. We mean, it’s an enforced imperial peace that’s constantly teetering on the brink of utter annihilation, but its something we guess.
As part of their unflinching, unending war on crime, Judges basically never get a day off to the point even in retirement they’re expected to continue administering justice. Only to the warring bandits and mutants that live in the devastated nuclear wasteland that is the world outside of Mega City One. Something known as The Long Walk. Essentially a death sentence for ageing judges masquerading as an opportunity. for them to “Bring Law to the Lawless.”
As an idea of how little time Judges get to themselves, several comics make reference to something known as Total Relaxation Inducer. Which admittedly sounds kind of nice but, like most things in the Judge Dredd universe exists only to facilitate putting the common man under the boot heel of THE LAW.
Specifically the Total Relaxation Inducer exists purely to get Judges back on the street as quickly as possible. Letting them get the equivalent of a full nights sleep, in just 10 minutes. Again, this sounds great until you realise that the only reason this thing was created is so that Judges couldn’t even get the reprieve of taking their fucking boots off. Then again, there’s a lot of crime in Mega City One so, we kind get it.