Work is long but oddly fulfilling, and much of it is about keeping them alive. Most Camps are really Farms--most of what they eat is grown in their own fields. The work happens from sunup to sundown. With decades of experience the wardens know exactly where men break and stop just short of it. Most of the dirty work is done by hand, and labor-saving machines are few--time behind a tractor allows the mind to wander. The inmates quickly appreciate the skill and the training even peasant work demands. The deficit (and there usually are, given how much they need to be fed), are made up by the State. With tractors and fertilizer and modern genetics feeding the population is almost trivial compared to the titanic efforts demanded not even ten generations past. But the State is not a spendthrift, at least not to them. The inmates must learn that they need to work just a little harder, and even if they did work as hard as they could have going hungry for a bit builds character. Most people come here because they are both overconfident and soft, a modern and fatal character flaw. Taiheis are a perceptive people used to privation--they know that even in good times they must be prepared for the bad.
When they don't work for the Camp the inmates work for themselves. The best craftsmen are high in status and their advice sought after, as they will be released soon. A library exists to fill what little time (and thought) the inmates have left. If they do not read, they write, mostly about themselves, what they have done, and what they have learned. The wardens talk about it with them, from time to time, like a teacher conversing with a student. Bad students are placed under supervision. Disruptive students are removed from the class and given discipline on their own.
Sometimes the inmates are let out. The bad ones must wear a vest that says "CRIMINAL" on the back and sent to the most menial tasks. The good ones merely wear their jumpsuits out and are even allowed to talk to the passers-by on occasion. From early childhood people are conditioned to half-pity, half-respect them--they are only trying their best.
--and trying their best is all that the Thought Police are looking for. The Camp serves a holy purpose. The extirpation of deceit, of cynicism, of all the little evil thoughts that kills Man. A God Worshipper only needs to see the hypocrisy of the Jesselton squat or the suicidal decadence of Wallasea to shake him to his bone. No, sincere men, helpful men, holy men reach Heaven. Some will return as bohisattvas to help the rest of us along. To shirk this duty is to condemn the world to suffer, to decay, and to become colder in entropy. None of the wardens want this to happen, from the bottom of their hearts.
Across the barracks a great slogan is painted, the first thing one sees when committed to the Camp. The inmates apply a fresh coat every year. It is also written on the gate, as the last thing a reformed man sees before becoming free. In Yamato it reads:
WITHOUT US, THERE IS NO YOU