The Instigator
AADebater
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Chaos88
Con (against)
Winning
1 Points

Certain Federal Offenders Should Receive Alternative Sentencing

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
Chaos88
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/4/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,879 times Debate No: 24913
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (7)
Votes (1)

 

AADebater

Pro

The last person to argue this forfeited, I am trying again.

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.

If you are considering taking the CON position, and you have any questions, go ahead and post them in the comments section. I will answer them there.
Chaos88

Con

This is my first debate here, and my first "formal" debate ever, so forgive me if I do something wrong.

I will start by accepting the information you give to be true as stated. The reason for this is your cited sources are the homepages for various websites. There is not one source that allows me to see this information upon clicking the hyperlink. It is burdensome in a debate to force the other side to search your sources in order to verify, especially if there are time constraints. I have no easy of way knowing if you made up these stats, misread them, misunderstood them, or if they are correct.

To my understanding, your plan involves "intense supervision", which I assume is above and beyond the current parole/probation/community supervision that is offered. This will cost more than the status quo. However, in 2003-2004, 29.9% of those exiting supervised release, parole, or probation were back in jail; however, 37.6% of those re-jailed committed new crimes. This illustrates that we need a new system, and that nothing of the status quo works. However, if this is true, then the savings do not materialize.

Pro states that that his plan has a "[savings] of about $27,888 per inmate resulting in an overall net savings of over $984 million per year". This results in only 35,283 inmates receiving this alternative sentence, assuming there are no additional expenses (personnel, buildings, etc.). However, in the 2003-04 season, 70,929 people were convicted of federal crimes. This means that HALF of convicted prisoners would have to meet the criteria for the safety valve. This is unlikely, as some of these people are convicted of violent crimes, supervision violations, and immigration violations. Beyond that, Pro cites a study that shows only 37.2% of drug offenders would qualify, yet Pro expects a larger percent of the entire prison population to qualify.

Pro argues as proof that prison is a "school of crime" because 41% are rearrested or parole revoked; however, that is misleading. Just because they are rearrested, doesn't mean they are guilty. It also doesn't mean they learned a new criminal trade from "school"; in the case of drugs and robbery, they likely went back to that same trade that landed them in prison. Furthermore, this stat INCLUDES the people who have their parole revoked, which in the 03-04 season was 44% of people whose parole ended with 27% violating their parole. This means they weren't following the rules of their release. This can be: not having a job, drinking, not reporting in, being near children, using drugs, not sleeping where you live, and various other issues. These are not crimes per se, but it is enough to put them back in prison to serve the rest of their term.

The remainder of recidivism is due to prejudice, stress, pressure, and desperation (which I can attest to personally), more than going to "school". When almost 95% of federal arrests are felonies, and employers almost always ask if you have a felony (and often times any crime), these individuals have a hard time finding work. This leads to a vicious circle of crime, in order to live. It is society to blame when people can't get second chances, but no amount of education or supervision will remedy this. The most practical thing to do is offer tax credits to those who hire ex-cons, but that is an expense, and would raise the cost further.

Your study from Dallas is incomplete and is prejudicial. If the stat of 41% for recidivism is for three years, and the stat given for the success of Dallas' system is 98% is for less than two years, it is unfair to compare the two. Furthermore, Dallas includes juveniles, whose records are expunged, so they aren't subject to discrimination as adult offenders.

Pro states that arguments are to be made on criminal justice and cost effectiveness. The most cost effective measure to reduce crime would be to decriminalize drugs. This would immediately reduce the number of arrests by about 25%, and the prison population by similar numbers. Drug use would no longer be a crime, legitimate businesses could be regulated and taxed, drugs could be taxed to offer help to those addicted, the DEA would have less expenses, and the price of drugs would go down, so drug money (robbery) would be less of a factor. This is far more cost-effective than any correctional measure could ever be.

http://www.justice.gov...
http://www.bjs.gov... (page 1-3,17)
Debate Round No. 1
AADebater

Pro

This should be fun, thank you for accepting the debate. I am sure you will do fine.

Thank you for assuming the best of me, I did not realize that when i put the links into the box, they would be shortened. Here are all the links TYPED OUT, to avoid any errors. They are listed in the order I presented them in the first round.
www.johntfloyd.com/comments/march11/Federal-Safety-Valve.htm

justice.gov/oig/reports/BOP/a0416/intro.htm

motherjones.com/mojo/2011/04/no-budget-cuts-federal-prisons

dallascounty.org/department/cjab/media/CJABExecCommMinutes5-16-11.pdf

fd.org/pdf_lib/Determiningthelikelihoodofsuccess.pdf

dcj.state.co.us/ors/pdf/docs/ww08_022808.pdf

Now, with that out of the way, I will move on to the arguments.

To clarify, this plan would include 2 parts - the first would consist of alternative sentencing like job training and drug rehab to safety valve offenders, because safety valve offenders must be low-level, non-violent, first time offenders, who do not deserve the harsh prison sentence they are currently receiving.. The second part is the intensive supervision which ensures that they complete said alternative sentencing programs. My opponent's 1st argument, was based on the idea that this plan would simply enhance current supervised release options. This is false. As mandate 1 clearly states "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." This means that offenders who would otherwise receive prison, receive alternative sentencing, which is ensured through intensive supervision, both of which have shown extremely successful in reducing crime and costs. Therefore savings will materialize.

My opponents next argument was that our savings will not come about, due to less people coming through our plan than expected. I would like to point out several factors, any one of which would show this argument to be fallacious and therefore establish that this plan's savings will come about.
1. Outdated. My opponents information on convicts said 70,000 people in 03-04. My source says 200,000 people in 2012. - bop.gov/news/quick.jsp - This means that my numbers are true, and we really will save close to $1 billion.
2. Less is more. Even if this plan would save less than originally expected, you should still vote PRO because it saves more money than CON.

Next, CON argued that rearrest does not mean they committed any crimes. My response is that no federal convict has been shown innocent. All 200,000 are guilty. That is why they are in FEDERAL prison.

CON also argued that even if these criminals committed a crime that it doesn't prove they learned it in prison, this is correct. So I have provided a second piece corroborating the position that prison increases recidivism, and is hence a problem for low-level, non-violent, first time offenders. -

Paul Gendreau and Claire Goggin, (Centre for Criminal Justice Studies, University of New Brunswick), and Francis T. Cullen, (Department of Criminal Justice, University of Cincinnati) "
The Effects of Prison Sentences on Recidivism," 1999
prisonpolicy.org/scans/e199912.htm
In the case of the incarceration vs. community comparison, the data showed a 7% increase in recidivism (49% vs. 42%)16 or a f = .07, for those offenders who were imprisoned.

CON continued to argue why my first number did not prove prison increased recidivism, however this new evidence clearly states it for all to see. It shows how prison is a problem.

I would like to point out something my opponent said that is very important: while talking about the causes of recidivism, my opponent painted a nasty picture of horrible financial conditions that drive these people to do things that land them back in prison. And I completely agree, in fact, I believe my opponent left out the part about how most drug traffickers (the vast majority of those who fall through the safety valve) make much less than minimum wage, and would love to get a minimum wage job. However, due to the fact that the safety valve, which was in fact meant to give low level offenders a second chance, puts these people in prison, where we throw the murderers and rapists. This plan proposes to give them a REAL second chance. By giving them job training, this plan would actually help these people's positions in life, and hence decrease recidivism further than prison. Thank you CON for bringing up this important point.

In his last 2 sentences of his second to last paragraph CON asserts that education and supervision will not reduce recidivism, and that the best thing to do would be to offer unfair tax credits to employers who hire ex-cons, which could be anyone from a terrorist to a murderer to a rapists to a drug kingpin. My response to both these is 2 fold:
1. No support. My opponent provided no support for his position.
2. Counter support provided. I have already provided numerous pieces of un-refuted evidence about the success of this plan in reducing recidivism.

CON then proceeded to assert that my study from Dallas is "incomplete and prejudicial". In response to both of these points I say that CON has: missed the point. The point was that the Dallas system of intensive supervision keeps offenders from leaving the program or committing crimes during the program. It does nothing to fix the recidivism rate. The purpose of this plan is to have two parts, one part to reduce recidivism and fix the problem, and a second part to ensure that offenders comply with the first part. I would like to point out how CON has completely dropped the success of the first part so far; and has not argued that the second part has failed at what it was INTENDED TO DO. (keep offenders in the program, NOT reduce recidivism.)

Lastly, CON argued that there was another, better way to be cost effective - decriminalize drugs. And as much as I would like to argue against his point, it has absolutly no relavence to this debate round, as you are left with 2 options at the end of the debate round - 1 vote PRO and recieve the above stated benefits which means that you achieve cost effectiveness, and not decriminalize drugs; or 2 vote CON keep the status quo, achieve all of the above stated harms, not achieve cost effectiveness and not decriminalize drugs. Because you don't decriminalize drugs either way, it does not enter into the debate round and there is no reason for you to vote CON, and every reason for you to vote PRO.

As I still have space, I will provide some more evidence supporting this plan as a good idea:
Chaos88

Con

I think we need to clarify something. You state that people are guilty; that is why they are in FEDERAL prison. While it is true they were found guilty, the inmates of federal prison are guilty of FEDERAL crimes (not state crimes) AND they are sentenced to prison (not probation). Recidivism is a relapse into criminal behavior, like committing a crime, not violating parole by having a girl spend the night [2]. The number of people re-arrested are not the same as the number of people who recidivate, as these people can be re-arrested for a new crime, a parole/probation violation, or an arrest that doesn’t lead to a charge.

As previously stated, your sources were not complete, so I could only use what information was provided. Your second, and core, argument was from 2004, so I used data from that time period. I have new stats from fiscal year 2009, compiled December 2010, I hope this is current enough for you.

I would also like to disagree with your statement about another valid option being irrelevant to the debate. The argument would be “certain federal inmates should not receive an alternative sentence because there is a better option”. However, because I admit we should not be arguing the merits of such an alternative (hi-jacking the debate), I will yield this point. NOTE TO VOTERS AND COMMENTATORS: PLEASE COMMENT ON THIS SIDE ISSUE.




Now, onto the fun…

The population of federal prisons was 208,118 in 2009 [7]; however, the number of people who went to federal prison in fiscal year 2009 was 75,431, which was pretty close to my other number presented [1]. So, I stand by my argument for the savings being overestimated. Also, almost half of these prisoners are NOT U.S. citizens, so they surely shouldn’t benefit from this program. Using these numbers, ruling out non-citizens and assuming the of remainder 37.2% are safety-valve eligible and did not receive the safety-valve at a rate of $27,888 (Pro’s first source states $25,000) per inmate, this would save the DOJ a whopping $432,748,235.97, which is an overestimate for sure. This is to help 15,517 would-be inmates. How does “eliminating” 20.6% of the incoming inmates, which is 7.5% of the entire prison population, only constitute a savings of 7.1% over the entire FY2010 prison budget?

One of your sources still did not work, the one regarding drug abuse treatment. I will stipulate that drug abuse treatment, and vocational skills for that matter, help with post-prison success. However, I do not believe your mystery source can justify its claim. If people aren’t buying drugs, then the drug dealers are doing less business, therefore less crime is being committed. Without seeing the study, I cannot agree that these people are less likely to commit new crimes.

As I said, I will stipulate that education is a factor of post-prison success, and quite possibly a factor for their initial crimes. Over half of the sentenced inmates in 2009 did NOT have a high-school education. [1] However, the status quo provides for both GED and vocational education [3]. The status quo also provides for drug treatments [4].

Using your source, the safety valve is already in place, and used quite frequently [1,5]. “’1) the defendant has no more than one criminal history point; 2) the defendant ‘did not use violence or credible threats of violence or possess a firearm or other dangerous weapon (or induce another participant to do so) in connection with the offense’; 3) the offense did not result in death or serious bodily injury; 4) the defendant was not a leader or organizer of the offense; and 5) the defendant has fully cooperated with the government.’ The defendant must satisfy all five indices to warrant a “safety valve” departure from a mandatory minimum sentence.” However, this first source you cite is opposed to the current safety valve definition. They argue that more people should qualify, not that a new model should be in place.

Speaking of this new model, it doesn’t work as well as you think in Dallas. Now, assuming that those that commit new offenses are included in those that fail, the system, after the first 21 months of the program, has had only 10 failures in 450 clients (2.2%). This program did take on more “high-risk” clients after inception. In those 11 months, they had 15 fails out of 80 (18.6%). They also were in charge of bond supervision for alcohol monitoring, in which 8 failed in the past month, out of 1000 (3.6% annually at this rate). These numbers aren’t too bad, but not great. I would argue that the reason it works is because it costs these criminals between $212.92 and $486.67 PER MONTH, depending on what devices they are forced to wear. This is the main reason why it works as well as it does. “The offenders tend to buy-in to the program more when they are paying the out of pocket cost” [6]

Another thing to consider is how this Dallas method, which has DAILY CONTACT, will be applied nationwide. The federal government would have to have offices in each major city devoted to the well-being of these criminals, which would cost quite a bit. Assume each worker of this new program is assigned 30 people for NATIONWIDE DAILY contact, there would need to be 517 new employees. If they are paid salary and benefits of $45,000 (which would be about the median wage [8]), this is a cost of over $23 million, which is over 5% of the savings in wages alone.

But even more important than the savings, is the cost to the inmate. Chances are, if they were in trouble with the law, especially with drugs, they had trouble with money in the first place. How can these people afford the supervision? They can’t.

Pro is arguing that the status quo is broken, but doesn’t seem to realize that the tools for fighting recidivism, in his mind, are job training and rehab; these tools are already available to inmates. So, Pro thinks that instead of the status quo, we should be forcing the inmates to pay for the supervisors who will force the inmate to better themselves. Isn’t the old adage “you can’t help those who don’t want it”?

I stated that the real issue for recidivism is society, largely not being able to get a job. If my personal experience isn’t a viable source (which I understand), then here are a few more. All state that ex-cons find it hard to find work [9]. If they can’t find work, they get desperate. We pretend we want to give people a second chance, but, really, we don’t. This is why government offers grants to those that help, as I said needs to be done, because businesses are very unlikely to take a risk with little chance of reward [10].


There needs to be no new alternative sentences, the status quo is fine. It isn't perfect, but it is not cost-effective to offer services that are already offered in a different atmosphere that causes financial duress on those we're trying to help.
Vote Con.


Sorry these are a bit out of order, but I reorganized my thoughts…

  1. http://www.ussc.gov...
  2. http://www.nij.gov...
  3. http://www.bop.gov...
  4. http://www.bop.gov...
  5. http://www.johntfloyd.com...
  6. http://www.dallascounty.org...
  7. http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov...
  8. http://www.bls.gov...
  9. http://www.saferfoundation.org...
  10. http://www.huffingtonpost.com...
Debate Round No. 2
AADebater

Pro

Before I begin, Chaos, I would just like to thank you for actually trying. This has so far been a great experience, and I thank you.

Now, I would like to clarify some things:
1. Most recent recidivism rate available. The 2004 recidivism statistic is the most recent number available on federal recidivism.
2. Safety valve offenders must have hit the mandatory minimum sentences (MMS). You have MMS that "catch" so to speak, certain offenders that have committed crimes and mandates a minimum sentence for them. Safety valve offenders are those who met certain criteria and hence received less prison time, as a feeble excuse for a second chance.
3. All offenders who go through the safety valve are drug traffickers. The safety valve offenders are those low-level, non-violent, first time offenders who have the potential for great societal harm if put through prison, and great societal benefit if put through a reasonable program, like the one this plan would implement.

As for your 'new stats', what are they referring to? We must see them posted for them to count.

If your stats are referring to the number of prisoners in the federal system, my statistics on that were from June or July of 2012 and hence my numbers are still more reliable.

As to your point about another valid option, I would thank you for conceding this point, and I make special note of this to anyone who is voting. In response though, I will simply reiterate my previous response, that A. alternative sentencing is better than this option, I showed this with sources, my opponent has provided none; and B. even if this plan was not the BEST plan, it is a good idea because it is BETTER than the CON position. PRO says that this plan has net benefits, this has been proved. PRO says this plan is better than the status quo, this has been proven. CON says, there must be better options out there, so don't vote PRO. I ask you to do exactly that, vote PRO because this plan is better than the status quo.

As to my source not working, yes, I agree. It does not seem to be working. I apologize. Here is a second piece to corroborate this point. I would also like to point out how the CON has tried to point out deficiencies in my support whilst he provides none.

Preponderance of the evidence Supports Rehab
Roger Przybylsk/ RKC group/ 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./ This project was supported by Grant 2004-DB-BX-0033 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance through DCJ's Office of Adult and Juvenile Assistance. / "What Works"/ February, 2008
http://dcj.state.co.us...
Lipsey and Cullen (2007) concluded that "the preponderance of research evidence, therefore, supports the general conclusion that rehabilitation treatment is capable of reducing the reoffense rates of convicted offenders and that it has greater capability for doing so than correctional sanctions."

I would also like to note that because very few if any of the offenders we are addressing will be in need of drug rehab, this point is inconsequential. The real 'meat' of the program is the vocational training for these drug traffickers which has been shown to be extremely effective.

As to your logical reasoning behind this point it is flawed because it assumes that drug traffickers are locked up for the rest of their lives. To the contrary, the specific offenders we are dealing with in the safety valve would never get a life sentence. To this end, they will get out, and harm society even more.

I have several responses to my opponents arguments about how vocational training will not succeed.
1. Biased sources. His sources were from the bureau of prisons, clearly a biased source on the success of prisons.
2. No statistics. His sources simply said that prison provides drug treatment and vocational training, not that it actually succeeded. If we look at my source, which has not been addressed, it says that prison, which apparently includes these programs, increases recidivism 7%.
3. Alternative sentencing better. Until CON can show that sticking with prison will provide a success rate higher than that of alternative sentencing, I ask you to vote PRO.

CON then proceeds to argue that my source wants to redo the safety valve, not replace it, this is irrelevant. We have both agreed that the source is telling the truth and upon the number of people going through the safety valve. Hence, this plan's cost savings have already been assured. $1 billion in savings is the result of this plan. Very cost efficient considering it improves effectiveness in reducing recidivism as well.

CON seemed confused at the next point, saying that making the offenders pay for the program is somehow a bad thing, or would cause it to fail on the federal level. Aside from offering to source for this purely speculative conclusion this makes no sense. In fact, their having to pay for 9/10 of the program is part of the reason it succeeds.

Next, my opponent mentions a $23 million dollar cost to this plan, 2 responses:
1. Cost part of the plan. I said that implementation would cost 7 times less than prison and got this number. (math available upon request. Although, you might want to do it in the comments for quicker reply and use in creating arguments)
2. Irrelevant. Even if this 'unforeseen cost' was 4 times what the CON said it would be the savings so outweigh the cost that you should still vote PRO ($1 billion savings. $23 million 'unforeseen cost'.)

Con then proceeds to say that the drug dealers won't be able to afford this. My response is: Historical precedence. This system worked in Dallas, and so far CON has provided no reasoning or counter-support as to why it wouldn't work with these federal offenders. I would remind you that these offenders make sometimes as much as $2500 dollars a year, no typo. Minimum wage would be more than enough for them.

Well, we have already addressed the idea of proposing a second course of action, so i will stick to CON's basic argument that federal offenders won't be able to find work and therefore they will go back to crime. 2 responses:
1. Historical precedence. Dallas got it right, no CON response.
2. Any succes is better than prison. Alternative sentencing has been PROVEN to work much much better than prison, however, even if only a few people were helped by this plan, it would still be better to vote PRO because the end result is reduced costs, and reduced recidivism; vs. prison where you get increased cost and increased recidivism.

More support:
Research Triangle Institute/ February 2006
rti.org/page.cfm?objectid=45f0612f-80cf-452e-b9466cad5f1b786c
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."

Because PRO has proven that there is a harm, that this plan would fix the harm and achieve the goal of cost effectiveness through reduced cost and recidivism, that I ask you vote PRO at the end of today's debate round. Thank you.
Chaos88

Con

Now, I would like to clarify some things:
1. Most recent recidivism rate available. The 2004 recidivism statistic is the most recent number available on federal recidivism.

False. Here is an intensive study that shows recidivism rates are 25% for federal inmates. This study has a sample of nearly 150,000 offenders, which is vastly different than any other study [1].
2. Safety valve offenders must have hit the mandatory minimum sentences (MMS). You have MMS that "catch" so to speak, certain offenders that have committed crimes and mandates a minimum sentence for them. Safety valve offenders are those who met certain criteria and hence received less prison time, as a feeble excuse for a second chance.
Again, see the study just cited.

3. All offenders who go through the safety valve are drug traffickers. The safety valve offenders are those low-level, non-violent, first time offenders who have the potential for great societal harm if put through prison, and great societal benefit if put through a reasonable program, like the one this plan would implement.

Where is Pro’s evidence that ONLY drug traffickers get the safety valve? Why wouldn’t first time non-violent drug dealers, growers, or users get the safety-valve? Why not fraud or larceny?

As for your 'new stats', what are they referring to? We must see them posted for them to count.
If your stats are referring to the number of prisoners in the federal system, my statistics on that were from June or July of 2012 and hence my numbers are still more reliable.

Con's stats were cited and presented in the first sentence of Con's round two argument (after clarification points). Why are Pro’s stats more reliable when I was using stats from 2009 to use for my data, since most of it was from 2009? The difference between our stats was about 10,000 and separated by about three years, which makes sense. Also, I think it is important to state that Pro never cited the prison population via your source; you simply said it was 200,000, which your source says otherwise (217,000 and change).


As to your logical reasoning behind this point it is flawed because it assumes that drug traffickers are locked up for the rest of their lives. To the contrary, the specific offenders we are dealing with in the safety valve would never get a life sentence. To this end, they will get out, and harm society even more.

I have several responses to my opponents arguments about how vocational training will not succeed.
First, I never said vocational training or drug treatment doesn’t work. I simply said it is already offered as the status quo. Why would it work in one instance but not the other, as Pro suggests? Additionally, I did imply that vocational training is irrelevant if no one would hire you.


CON then proceeds to argue that my source wants to redo the safety valve, not replace it, this is irrelevant.

This is relevant when Pro’s source is opposed to reform, which is what Pro’s position is.

Next, my opponent mentions a $23 million dollar cost to this plan, 2 responses:
1. Cost part of the plan. I said that implementation would cost 7 times less than prison and got this number. (math available upon request. Although, you might want to do it in the comments for quicker reply and use in creating arguments)

And I showed how I came up with half of the savings cited using Pro’s evidence (savings per inmate). How are my calculations wrong? If my calculations show a materially different result, that means someone was wrong, most likely one of Pro’s sources.
2. Irrelevant. …

It is not irrelevant if I “proved” the savings were $423 million. It shows incredibility on Pro's sources.

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…
Why would this only save “millions”? I know this is from 2006, but if there is to be $1 billion saved in federal prisons alone, why would there only be a savings of “millions” NATIONALLY; this would include city, county, and state levels.

This is another example of Pro’s use of sources that contradict each other. Con has yet to see savings of $27,888/inmate as stated, but has seen a mention of $25,000/inmate from a source. Pro underreports prison population by almost 10%. Uses recidivism rates that measure three years, but promotes a program that hasn’t been around that long, thus these figures are improper to compare.
The constant misinformation is leads to incredibility.

Con then proceeds to say that the drug dealers won't be able to afford this. My response is: Historical precedence. This system worked in Dallas, and so far CON has provided no reasoning or counter-support as to why it wouldn't work with these federal offenders. I would remind you that these offenders make sometimes as much as $2500 dollars a year, no typo. Minimum wage would be more than enough for them.

First, Pro has provided no evidence of this income, Pro has simply stated it. Second, I have provided counter-argument stating the success is less than you offer (18% of one group fails). Also, I stated the program has been active less than recidivism rates measure, therefore it is too early to tell. Thirdly, Pro accuses Con of biased sources, yet this source is from the minutes of meeting promoting the success of this program to the county. If the BOP is biased towards inflated success, then why is this source above suspicion?

Well, we have already addressed the idea of proposing a second course of action, so i will stick to CON's basic argument that federal offenders won't be able to find work and therefore they will go back to crime. 2 responses:
1. Historical precedence. Dallas got it right, no CON response.

There is not enough evidence to suggest Dallas has it right. Pro promotes this Dallas plan, which Pro constantly uses the figure of 450 clients (even though there is more). Using Pro’s words, ONLY drug traffickers get the safety valve and ONLY 450 in 2009. This success is based on only helping (450/1422) 31% of the arrested individuals [2]. It is easy to pick such a small sample and extrapolate from that. It is equally as easy to pick the most likely to succeed. We need to factor in the 15 people that failed in only one year’s time, out of 80 in the next group (18%).
While that sounds good, consider this: the three-year reincarceration rate in Texas for those released from prison was 24.3% in 2007. The parole revocation rate for 2010 was 8.2% [3].

Con’s claim is that, since this sample is incredibly small, and we do not know the characteristics of these individuals, and the shortened time frame, all point to the Dallas experiment as on par to the status quo.
2. Any succes is better than prison…

Any success is better than prison, but there is zero evidence that would suggest that these same individuals would not succeed in a supervised release, probation, or short prison term (all the status quo). Pro has offered no substantial reason, method, or evidence as to why recidivism is lessened. Only that it is. Yet, the Dallas experiment appears to be failing at its first expansion (the 80 clients) at the same rate as the status quo in Texas.
Vote Con.

Debate Round No. 3
AADebater

Pro

AADebater forfeited this round.
Chaos88

Con

Since Pro did not respond, I will continue.

Pro stated that recidivism rates of the status quo were 7% (42% vs. 49%) higher than under his plan [1]. However, this small percentage could easily be influenced by the data used in this study from over ten years ago. This study only used 68% of American data, so it is quite feasible to believe that the numbers from other countries can inflate the recidivism rates. After all, Pro cited a different source stating 41% recidivism rate [2], and Con has already stated the real recidivism rate is 25% [3]. Why are these numbers so much lower than this study? It would appear that other countries’ data bring up the rate. This source and all conclusions drawn from it must be ignored.

Investigating Pro’s main source further, the one that states a 41% rate, we have been misled. First, the source states specifically that 16% of these inmates will be back in federal prisons, while 41% will be “rearrested or had their paroles revoked”. As stated before, being rearrested is not a crime, as it can include: a false arrest, a parole/probation violation (like failing a drug test or missing a meeting), a new crime, or even a material witness order (these are considered arrests and constitute about 4% of arrests [5], which could easily encompass drug offenders being forced to testify against drug lords or the mafia). But when looking at recidivism, we should be worried about new crimes, not parole/probation violations. Going back to prison because you screwed up (or going in the first place) is not an issue because it is still part of the sentence for the old crime. The prevention of new crimes are what will preserve order in society, not the re-arrest of someone who blew his chance at early release/lesser penalty.

Looking into the study that supplied Pro’s 41% rate stat, the number of new crimes from released federal prisoners within three years of release that land them back in federal prison is 4.8% [4]. Those on parole or supervised release found themselves back in prison at a rate of 15.5% simply because they violated a term of parole, often a drug test. This study, which is from Pro, validates my study’s claim of a total 25% recidivism rate.

Pro has defended the Dallas plan by citing its success of its first batch, stating part of the success is because offenders have to pay. This may be true, but Dallas’ plan also failed at its first attempt of expansion into higher-risk offenders. The first batch, I am sure would have been eligible for the safety-valve in the federal system (i.e. status quo). The expansion offenders (which also were likely to meet the safety-valve) was met with similar recidivism rates for the rest of the state (expansion 18.8% failure, 2010 state parole revocation rate 14.7%), which shows no improvement [6]. Actually, it is worse.

As far as the “amazing success” of the incredibly small sample of 450 goes; it does not prove anything. There is no information on recidivism rates among the safety-valve offenders. Logic would dictate that, if anyone would succeed in any program, it is those that would be new (first offenders) and tolerant (non-violent, non-leader) of a program to keep them out of prison.

So, Pro says his plan yields 42% recidivism (I have to use this stat because no other has been given), and the status quo has a 25% rate. The status quo works.

As far as Dallas’ program that Pro wants to use as the model, it does nothing to fix recidivism. If it does nothing to fix recidivism, than it does not lower crime. By Pro’s own words in round 2,

CON then proceeded to assert that my study from Dallas is "incomplete and prejudicial". In response to both of these points I say that CON has: missed the point. The point was that the Dallas system of intensive supervision keeps offenders from leaving the program or committing crimes during the program. It does nothing to fix the recidivism rate.

If Pro's model is to simply prevent offenders from committing crimes during the program (i.e. their sentence), then how is this different than prison, which offers drug rehab, education, and re-entry services?
You must vote Con.
  1. http://www.prisonpolicy.org...
  2. http://www.justice.gov...
  3. http://www.uscourts.gov...
  4. http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov...
  5. http://www.bjs.gov...
  6. http://www.lbb.state.tx.us...

Debate Round No. 4
AADebater

Pro

AADebater forfeited this round.
Chaos88

Con

It appears my opponent has conceded.


As my opponent was unwilling or unable to refute the stat of 25% recidivism for federal inmates, it is evident the status quo works. 25% is better than ANY study Pro stated a change in the system would yield. You must vote Con.


The Dallas study that is Pro’s model has success in its initial batch of subjects, but that is irrelevant. Even if we used Pro’s worst statistic of 49% recidivism, if we randomly chose one-third of the inmates at random, the recidivism rate would be expected to be 16.2% (8.3% if Con’s stat is used). If we individually selected them on based on their chance to succeed, it would logically be a better rate. This is what Dallas did. This is evidenced by its expansion of 80 higher risk clients, which had a failure rate of 18.8%, which is worse than a random batch of federal inmates, and even worse when compared to Texas’ statewide recidivism rates. Therefore, the Dallas system is flawed and should not be implemented at the federal level.


Even if there are savings to the prisons by implementing this plan, since the recidivism rate would be higher, there will be more risk to the community and higher costs to law enforcement and the judicial system as a result; this is counter-productive to the purpose of the criminal justice system, as stated by Pro. Therefore, the status quo is the best course of action, as it yields the best protection to the community from released prisoners.


Please vote Con.

Debate Round No. 5
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by AADebater 4 years ago
AADebater
Can I just post in 2 comments?
Posted by AADebater 4 years ago
AADebater
Dang, I have all my stuff ready, i just ran out of time.
Posted by AADebater 4 years ago
AADebater
I am sorry Chaos88, if you wish to try again, feel free.
Posted by Chaos88 4 years ago
Chaos88
lame, I missed the deadline because I thought review was post, so I missed it by a few seconds by tweaking it.
Posted by AADebater 4 years ago
AADebater
Thank you!
Posted by twsurber 4 years ago
twsurber
Although there aren't a lot of cards you seem to have a nice prima facie that also addresses topicality which is one the first things I look at as the NEG. Well done AA!
Posted by Wallstreetatheist 4 years ago
Wallstreetatheist
Neat
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by airmax1227 4 years ago
airmax1227
AADebaterChaos88Tied
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Total points awarded:01 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct for FF.