L2-MHG #08 The Prisoner’s Dilemma

There are two prisoners. They are both guilty of murder. They were caught by the police and were both in possession of illegal weapons.

Since the police can easily prove that both criminals violated weapons laws, both criminals will therefore serve a one year prison sentence.

However, if the police can also prove murder, then both prisoners will be executed in the electric chair.


The problem for the police is that unless they can get at least one of the prisoners to confess to murder they will be unable to get a murder conviction.

• if both criminals shut up, they will get one year jail.
• if either criminal confesses, both men will be sentenced to death.

The two criminals are not stupid and they realise the game that they are in.

DFQ #08
What should the prisoners do?

8 thoughts on “L2-MHG #08 The Prisoner’s Dilemma

  1. Obviously neither criminal is interested in the death penalty. Their alternative is to stay quite and pay for the one crime, ideally learning from the near maximum penalty.

    I may be coming from an idealistic point of view, but I would hope that they learn from the experience and change their ways and not just see that they have “gotten away with murder” and empowered to continue their criminal ways.

    They must keep quite and learn.

  2. The prisoners must both shut up, there is no incentive for either to benefit from confessing in this situation.

  3. One could plea-bargain and pin the murder on the other guy for a reduced gun posession charge (i.e. less than one year). However, the safest option would be to cooperate and accept the one year each.

  4. I think they should shut up – both “win” a lesser of two “evils”, unless of course one personally prefers death over prison.

  5. I have thought about this a lot today.

    The prisoners should not say anything. As everything occurs in duality, they must have suffered before being pushed so far that they would kill someone. The goal for the prisoners is to learn the lesson and pass it on so that others can benefit from their experience – breaking the cycle so that it doesn’t need to happen again. In this way we do not continue to revolve but learn the lesson and allow people to dissolve the pain, equilibrate and evolve.

Leave your thought

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.