The concept of biblical repentance and the Cognify therapy, a futuristic approach to rehabilitation, may seem like vastly different approaches to personal transformation. However, they share some commonalities in their aim to promote positive change in individuals.

IT SOUNDS like science fiction… and frankly a little bit bonkers.

But jails where inmates can serve their sentences in minutes before emerging as reformed characters may be the future of justice, says a biotechnology expert.

The Cognify method would see convicts given a choice between years in a cell or fast-track rehabilitation that involved implanting false memories in their brains, molecular biologist Hashem Al-Ghaili said. He explained they could be hooked up to machines – which in illustrations of the concept look a bit like sunbeds – while watching vivid virtual reality footage that would begin to seem to them like genuine memories.

Scenes could include their crimes seen from the victim’s perspective. And the ‘memories’ would be coupled with a brain implant to induce emotions such as remorse or regret. Mr Al-Ghaili said: ‘Violent offenders could feel their victim’s pain and suffering first hand.

‘Some memories would be designed to trigger consequences and trauma, simulating the long-term consequences of violent actions, such as the grief of the victim’s family or the physical and emotional trauma endured by the victim.’

Families of crime victims might be unimpressed to see offenders walking the streets days after being jailed. But Mr Al-Ghaili argued the concept could revolutionise the criminal justice system by significantly reducing the need for long-term incarceration and its associated costs’.