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Earth and other Federation planets were often depicted to be somewhat utopian in nature, however there are cases where domestic crimes have been depicted at various points throughout Star Trek.

Were there any standard laws and punishments for crimes across Federation controlled planets and space? Were they standardised or did they differ depending on the planet or region of space?

How were severe crimes punished vs minor ones?

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2 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

According to Memory Alpha,

Compared to neighboring civilizations, the United Federation of Planets was unusually reluctant to codify or apply the death penalty, preferring incarceration and rehabilitation.

Some Federation worlds, per the respect of the UFP to local and independent customs, had laws of their own which put citizens to death. Such was the case on Ardana which, even though a member of the Federation, practiced not only the death penalty but torture as well.

In the 23rd century, Starfleet officers held responsible for violating General Order 7 (visiting the planet Talos IV) faced the death penalty. However, in the only known instance of the order's violation, Starfleet declined to prosecute the officers involved.

By the 24th century, the death penalty was non-existent in the Federation.

A list of punishments given by the Federation consists of:

  • Community Service
  • Fine
  • Exile
  • Imprisonment (in the Brig, an Internment Camp, a Penal/Labor Camp, or in an Asylum)
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Thanks for the edit Izkata, getting over a head cold has left my brain a little jumbled –  Monty129 Dec 24 '12 at 17:27
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From season 3, episode #79, Turnabout Intruder, we know that in 23rd century TOS, Starfleet has banned the death penalty except for "General Order 4". Concurrently, we see in other episoded, penal colonies in which the criminally insane were imprisoned for rehabilitation.

By the 24th Century, we know that penal colonies still exist (e.g. Tom Paris was in New Zealand penal colony.) However, the death penalty is not mentioned.

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