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"The SF approach: an awareness that things could have been different, that this is one of many possible worlds, that if you came to this world from some other planet, this would be a science fiction world."
- Neal Stephenson

Virtual Punishment  
  It seems like decades in prison.  

Charlie Draper has been found guilty; and he accepts virtual punishment. He is forced to undergo a century of subjective prison life, in the prison of his own mind.

"We went over the pluses and minuses before you opted for virtual punishment."

"So I serve a hundred years in one day -"

"Less than a day. Overnight."

... She looked over at Draper, lying on the gurney next to hers. His black helmet was more complicated, a thick cable and lots of small wires...

From Complete Sentence, by Joe Haldeman.
Published by Technology Review in 2011
Additional resources -

Draper and his lawyer meet together in a virtual reality space similar to that shown in this virtual reality ceremony from Alexander Besher's 1994 novel Rim.

Compare also with moratorium from Philip K. Dick's 1969 novel Ubik and to personality death from Harry Harrison's 1959 short story Robot Justice.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Complete Sentence
  More Ideas and Technology by Joe Haldeman
  Tech news articles related to Complete Sentence
  Tech news articles related to works by Joe Haldeman

Virtual Punishment-related news articles:
  - Biotech Prisons - Serve A Thousand Years In a Day

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