The Instigator
AADebater
Pro (for)
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The Contender
PreciousFragmentation
Con (against)
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Certain Federal Offenders Should Receive Alternative Sentencing

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/17/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,908 times Debate No: 24758
Debate Rounds (5)
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AADebater

Pro

As Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal said, Without education, job skills, and other basic services, offenders are likely to repeat the same steps that brought them to jail in the first place. This is a problem that needs to be addressed head-on. We cannot say we are doing everything we can to keep our communities and our families safe if we are not addressing the high rate at which offenders are becoming repeat criminals.
All too often, offenders repeat their crimes, which decreases the safety of this nation. It is because I believe that there is a solution to this high rate of recidivism that I believe Alternative sentencing for certain federal offenders would be a good idea.

Now, the purpose of the criminal justice system is to preserve order in society by reducing crime. To help you decide whether or not this is a good idea, I present the goal or benchmark of Cost Effectiveness. What I define cost effectiveness, as, in this case, is doing the best we can do, at the least cost possible.

Now that the key terms have been defined and the goal for the round has been established, I present the facts of the status quo in my First Observation: Inherency
Fact One: 37% of federal drug offenders receive the safety valve
From the John T. Floyd Law Firm/ Houston Criminal Defense John T. Floyd, the founder of the John T. Floyd Law Firm, is proud to be Board Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Criminal Law./ March 8, 2011
http://www.johntfloyd.com...
QUOTE In support of this conclusion, the Commission said it examined 24,483 drug offenders, and that 9,115 of them (37.2 percent) received the benefit of the safety valve provisions.
These offenders who receive the safety valve, are low-level, non-violent, first time offenders who deserve a second chance. However, the status quo is content to give these offenders prison, the same punishment given to murders and rapists, regardless of the consequences to the prisoners, and to the public as a whole. There are two specific consequences to putting low-level, non-violent, first time offenders in prison,
The first one, you can label as,

High recidivism
Incarceration leads to high recidivism
From the Office of the Inspector General/ "The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) conducts independent investigations, audits, inspections, and special reviews of United States Department of Justice personnel and programs to detect and deter waste, fraud, abuse, and misconduct, and to promote integrity, economy, efficiency, and effectiveness in Department of Justice operations/ " March 2004
http://www.justice.gov...
Further, according to the most recent study conducted by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) on recidivism rates for federal inmates, approximately 41 percent of federal inmates released to the community were rearrested or had their parole revoked within 3 years.
Nearly HALF of every prisoner we put into a federal prison GO BACK TO COMMIT CRIME WITHIN 3 YEARS OF RELEASE. Thus we see that prison serves not a tool to protect public, but a school of crime. The second result of putting low level, non-violent, first time offenders in prison, you can tag as,

High cost
Incarceration costs $6.8 Billion per year
By James Ridgeway and Jean Casella/ A nonprofit news organization that specializes in investigative, political, and social justice reporting./ Apr. 13, 2011
http://motherjones.com...
Yet the Obama Administration's combined budget requests for FY 2011 and FY 2012 call for a full 10 percent increase over 2010 levels in funding to the federal Bureau of Prisons, to more than $6.8 billion.

What all of this comes down to, is that in the status quo many nonviolent, low level, first time drug offenders are going to prison; because of this we have a high recidivism rate and a high cost to taxpayers. I believe that there is a way to decrease our federal recidivism rate. This other option has been proven to cost less, and be more effective at reducing crime. This plan is a good idea,

Third Observation: The Plan
Mandate 1: Alternative Sentencing
Any offender who meets the mandatory minimum safety valve requirements will be placed in an alternative sentence tailored to his crime, with special emphasis placed on drug treatment and job training.
Mandate 2: Ensured Compliance
To ensure that offenders comply with their sentence, a system of intensive supervision, modled after Dallas' system, will be paired with the alternative sentences.
The United States Federal Government shall enact, enforce, and preserve our plan.
Our plan will go into effect at the start of fiscal year 2013 to allow for preparations.
Funding will come from the BOP budget, however our plan will save of about $27,888 per inmate resulting in an overall net savings of over $984 million per year.
And as the affirmative team we reserve the right to clarify our plan as needed in later speeches.

We see evidence that offenders would comply with this plan, in our,
Fourth Observation: Solvency
Solvency 1: Dallas model 98% successful

Criminal Justice Advisory Board/ Leah Gamble, and Rebekah Truxal/ Leah Gamble, who is the manager of the Pre-Trial Release program, and Rebekah Truxal, who manages the Alternative Sentencing Bond Supervision Unit. Both have a number of years experience with Dallas County in Juvenile and Adult probation./ May 16, 2011

http://www.dallascounty.org...;
Since the inception of the program in August 2009 they have had 450 clients, with only 10 that have failed. She believes this success is due to the approach. It is a specific short-term sentence, which is very intensive. There is contact with the client daily. Out of the 450 clients, only 3 have committed new offenses while under supervision.
This piece of evidence shows how the Dallas system of alternative sentencing is so effective that 98% of those offenders who went through the program did not go back to crime. It is because the Dallas system works so much better than the current system of prison that it is a good idea fro ensuring compliance. This would bring about significant advantages as seen in,

Our Fifth Observation: Advantages
Advantage 1: Cost Effectiveness
Drug treatment reduces recidivism
Denise C. Barrett/ National Federal Defender Sentencing Resource Counsel, Office of the Federal Public Defender for the District of Delaware, with assistance from members of the National Federal Defender Sentencing Resource Counsel Project, May 2009

http://www.fd.org...
Drug abuse treatment is cost effective in reducing drug use and bringing about associated healthcare, crime, and incarceration cost savings" because every dollar spent toward effective treatment programs yields a $4 to $7 dollar return in reduced drug related crime, criminal costs and theft)

Vocational Training Works
Roger Przybylsk/ RKC Group provides applied research, training and technical assistance services to public, private and nonprofit organizations with a focus on public policy and justice system issues./ February, 2008
http://dcj.state.co.us...
What does the scientific evidence tell us about the effectiveness of educational and vocational training programs? Overall, the weight of the evidence indicates that they work. Highly rigorous studies of educational and vocational programs have found lower recidivism rates for program participants and positive returns on investment. The preponderance of evidence supports the conclusion that corrections-based education programs are effective in reducing recidivism.

By using a method statistically proven to be better at combating crime and one that is 7 TIMES CHEAPER, we will be protecting the public at a lower cost, which is the essence of being cost effective. It is because this plan is a good idea, that I ask you vote pro.
PreciousFragmentation

Con

I accept this debate! This sounds like a very interesting topic, so I can't wait to debate it.

Before we begin, I have a few questions.

1.Are you advocating this idea at a state or federal level?
2. Also, are you advocating alternative sentencing AND the Dallas system?
3. Will offenders qualifying for your program receive alternative sentencing for the entirety of their sentence?

Best of Luck!
-Sheldon
Debate Round No. 1
AADebater

Pro

I apologize for the delay. I began writing this response earlier, and forgot to finish. And, may I add, thank you for your kind attitude, willingness to debate, and good sportsmanship.

As to your first question, as I stated in the title and the plan, this would be for federal offenders. These offenders are low level, non-violent, first time offenders, and as such are deserving of a second chance. The fact is, that the safety valve was first implemented, to give these offenders a second chance, however, the current mindset is to be "tough on crime" not "Smart on crime". It is my position that these first time, low level, non-violent federal safety valve offenders, deserve a real second chance.

As to your second question, as I stated in the plan, I am advocating the implementation of drug rehabilitation and job training (alternative sentencing) for these low level, non-violent, first time offenders; because these programs have been proven to do better than prison at rehabilitating these prisoners and that they cost less; leading us to the logical conclusion that these programs are cost effective.

As to your third question, yes. The offenders who would, given the status quo's policy, would receive this failure we call a prison sentence for the entirety of their sentence, which would inevitably increase the likelihood of their re-arrest and cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars; instead, with our plan they will receive an alternative sentence that quickly and efficiently addresses the root of the problem.

And it is because this plan would give federal offenders who have been ruled to deserve a second chance, a real second chance, because this plan would save nearly a billion dollars every year by implementing less expensive programs, and because this plan would be more effective in reducing crime, that I advocate this plan, and why I request you vote affirmative at the end of today's debate round. Thank you.
PreciousFragmentation

Con

I had written an amazing contention against this case, unfortunately, when I hit "Review" to post it, it asked me to sign back in, and I lost all my work. I'm very sorry, as I do not have time to turn in any arguments.

All apologies,
-Sheldon
Debate Round No. 2
AADebater

Pro

That is ok. I will not use this round for posting any arguments. Go ahead and post your arguments whenever. :) I am sorry about that.
PreciousFragmentation

Con

PreciousFragmentation forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
AADebater

Pro

Good, rational decisions can only be made when we have all of the relevant information. As was discussed above, relying solely on intuitions without first validating those intuitions can lead to gross inefficiencies and decreased effectiveness in the criminal justice system. Decisions about sentencing should be evidence-based.

- A Report by Christopher D. Scalzo, President of the South Carolina Public Defender Association/ E. Charles Grose, Jr., Circuit Defender, Eighth Judicial Circuit/ Ashley Pennington, Circuit Defender, Ninth Judicial Circuit/ March 5, 2009

In today's debate round, I ask all the judges to look at the EVIDENCE that has been presented, to look at the facts, and make a judgement based on that. Clearly the ONLY evidence that has been presented in today's and in fact the only arguments, have been in support of the AFFIRMATIVE or the PRO. It is because of this, because there is no reason this plan would be a bad idea, and every reason it would be a good idea, that I ask you vote PRO. Below I have posted more evidence to support my conclusions that Alternative sentencing for certain federal offenders would be a great idea.

A. Prison Fails
Incarceration decreases public safety
A Report byChristopher D. Scalzo, President of the South Carolina Public Defender Association/ E. Charles Grose, Jr., Circuit Defender, Eighth Judicial Circuit/ Ashley Pennington, Circuit Defender, Ninth Judicial Circuit/ March 5, 2009
http://search.yahoo.com...**http%3a//www.scstatehouse.gov/citizensinterestpage/SentencingReformCommission/PDAReport.doc (is really a word document you download)
Incarcerating the wrong people does not increase public safety—it decreases the effectiveness of our prisons by reducing the space available for those who truly pose a threat to public safety.
Incarcerating the wrong people does not reduce recidivism—it increases it.
Incarcerating the wrong people does not increase the efficient use of tax dollars—it ensures that we will waste money on sentencing options that do not produce the results we want.
Incarcerating the wrong people means that we have failed to use an appropriate available sentencing option, and have thus reduced the effectiveness of the criminal justice system.
We recommend the Commission adopt the principle that we should incarcerate only those people who need to be incarcerated as part of the framework for attaining its sentencing reform objectives.
MPX: This evidence explicitly states that prison does not increase public safety when we incarcerate non-violent offenders. It also goes on to say that incarcerating these people actually is not cost effective either. This means that the status quo fails both criteria and change is needed.

Incarceration increases recidivism
Roger K. Warren (National Center for State Courts for the Crime and Justice Institute and the National Institute of Corrections), "Evidence-Based Practice to Reduce Recidivism: Implications for State Judiciaries", August 2007

http://static.nicic.gov...;
The research about what works is the product of diligent scientific investigation and analysis by researchers in the fields of criminology, psychology, mental health, substance abuse, criminal justice, and corrections. The research is particularly noteworthy because it has also proven that punishment, incarceration, and other sanctions do not reduce recidivism and, in fact, increase offender recidivism slightly. The principal significance of this body of research is threefold: first, we now know that treatment and rehabilitation can ―work to reduce recidivism; second, for appropriate offenders alternatives to imprisonment can be both less expensive and more effective in reducing crime; and, third, even where alternatives to incarceration do not decrease recidivism, they often do not increase it either, thereby providing a cost-effective alternative to imprisonment without compromising public safety.
MPX: The scientific research and analysis done by experts in criminology, psychology, mental health, substance abuse, criminal justice, and corrections shows that incarceration increases recidivism.

Not only does prison fail to provide a viable alternative, it actually makes the problem worse. It is because keeping the status quo would mean continued failure that I believe that certain federal offenders should receive alternative sentencing because such a policy would be cost effective.

B. Alternative Sentencing is Cost Effective
Cost-effective alternative
Research Triangle Institute ("RTI is an independent, nonprofit institute that provides research, development, and technical services to government and commercial clients worldwide.\" -from their home page) \"Study Finds Drug Treatment Is Cost-Effective Alternative to Prison,\" February 2006 http://www.rti.org...
Alternative programs that divert felony drug offenders to substance abuse treatment programs rather than prison terms could save the U.S. criminal justice system millions of dollars and reduce recidivism, according to a study conducted by researchers at RTI International. The study, funded by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse through a subcontract with the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, was published in the latest issue of Justice Research and Policy (Issue 7, Vol. 1). "The study shows that drug treatment programs for felony offenders provide great economic benefits to the criminal justice system and reduce recidivism rates among offenders, providing societal and economic benefits," said Gary Zarkin, Ph.D., principal investigator for the study. "Based on the results, policymakers should consider diversion programs for higher-risk drug offenders in addition to low-risk offenders usually eligible for such programs."
MPX: By reducing crime, alternative sentencing increases public safety.
MPX: Because alternative programs for drug offenders save millions of dollars and reduce recidivism, alternative sentencing is cost effective.

Alternative sentencing cost effective
Roger K. Warren (National Center for State Courts for the Crime and Justice Institute and the National Institute of Corrections), "Evidence-Based Practice to Reduce Recidivism: Implications for State Judiciaries", August 2007

http://static.nicic.gov...;
The research about what works is the product of diligent scientific investigation and analysis by researchers in the fields of criminology, psychology, mental health, substance abuse, criminal justice, and corrections. The research is particularly noteworthy because it has also proven that punishment, incarceration, and other sanctions do not reduce recidivism and, in fact, increase offender recidivism slightly. The principal significance of this body of research is threefold: first, we now know that treatment and rehabilitation can ―work to reduce recidivism; second, for appropriate offenders alternatives to imprisonment can be both less expensive and more effective in reducing crime; and, third, even where alternatives to incarceration do not decrease recidivism, they often do not increase it either, thereby providing a cost-effective alternative to imprisonment without compromising public safety.
MPX: Alternative sentencing does decrease recidivism, as the evidence shows.
MPX: Because alternative sentencing decreases crime, it is cost effective and increases public safety.

Judges, we have seen that Alternative sentencing for these offenders would provide cost effective results. Clearly, this is a great idea, a smart idea, a cost effective idea. It is because this plan would achieve the goal of cost effectiveness, that I ask you vote PRO at the end of today's debate round. Thank you.
PreciousFragmentation

Con

PreciousFragmentation forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
AADebater

Pro

Well then, as no arguments have been presented against my case, I ask you all to vote PRO.
PreciousFragmentation

Con

PreciousFragmentation forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
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