The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
5 Points

End mandatory minimum PRISON sentences

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/23/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,114 times Debate No: 53195
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)




I'm following Prof instructions. The challenge you invited me to was on the wrong topic, and he said people on the left of the chart go first as Pros!

P1: Mandatory minimum sentences have not eliminated sentencing disparities because they have not eliminated sentencing discretion; they have merely shifted that discretion from judges to prosecutors. Judges may have to impose whatever punishment the law requires, but prosecutors are under no comparable obligation to charge a defendant with violating a law carrying a mandatory minimum penalty.

P2: Growing prison populations and costs require the Department of Justice to cut funding for crime-fighting personnel and equipment. Some of the money that we are spending on locking up low-risk, nonviolent inmates should be shifted to strengthening community corrections programs like probation and parole

C: Society must put an end to mandatory minimum prison sentences, they are not in society's best interests.


P1: You are arguing that mandataroy minimum sentences should eliminate sentencing discretion, and that eliminating sentencing discretion is our best interest. Prosecutors should be able to impose whatever punishment they believe befit the crime, not judges. Judges are merely there to watch over the proceedings and make sure that they go accordingly, and make sure that a defendant's rights are not being abused. Essentially, the judge is there to make sure that the proceedings follow due process and are fair. Prosecutors should be the ones suggesting the sentence.

P2: It would be nice is actually cited/linked citations for their claims. Growing prison populations mean less crime on the streets, therefore less of a need for funding for 'crime-fighting personnel and equipment'.

P3: Funding for community correction programs like probation and parole would be a greater waste of money than keeping lawbreakers in jail. Probation and parole do not affect recidivism rates.
Debate Round No. 1


You've misinterpreted my argument. What I said in my first premise is that: having minimum mandatory sentences has not changed sentencing disparities (even though people committing the same crime should receive the same punishment, they are not). And they are not receiving the same punishment because having mandatory minimum sentences, doesn't guarantee that discretion wont be used to prosecute the defendant. That is why I am against mandatory minimum sentences, because although they use a set of guidelines to determine whether the defendant should be convicted for that set number of years, prosecutors manipulate this law to make the defendant fit the crime, instead of making the crime committed fit the guideline. The difference between a judge and a prosecutor is that judges have punish according to what the law requires, and prosecutors don't have to charge the defendant for violating a law with a mandatory minimum sentence which is where the they have this discretion. That is a big flaw in the minimum mandatory sentencing law, that they give prosecutors the opportunity to use more discretion which in turn contradicts what the law was made for in the first place.
And as if your second premise made any sense; it doesn't. Crime rate doesn't decrease because prison population increases. These are too dependent variables with their own separate independent variables. Crime rate is affected by the number of crimes being committed AND reported. Prison population depends on the number of people being sent to prison regardless of guilt, innocence, and discretion given or not given by prosecutors. There are many factors that affect the number of people being sent to prison. And it is premature of you to draw the conclusion between prison population and crime rate. Bottom line is that sending people to prison because of this mandatory minimum sentence law is potentially damaging to our society because we are in fact spending money housing these prisoners, when we should instead use that money to crime-fighting personnel and equipment.


It is exceedingly difficult to understand your argument. Please consider using paragraphs, in concert with proper grammar.

Your argument is that prosecutors abuse sentencing and judges don't? Judges aren't supremely altruistic beings that only do what is right. Your argument is a fallacy.

Sending people to prison means there will be less crime. I don't understand how you can argue with that. If we locked everyone up, there would be no crime. There is a direct correlation between prison population and crime rate.
Debate Round No. 2


Karelyn.Tatis forfeited this round.


oka forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by bladerunner060 2 years ago
As always, happy to clarify my RFD.
Posted by bladerunner060 2 years ago
Conduct for Pro's forfeit, though, to Con, it would be better if you had posted something in the last round.

S&G due to the difficulty in reading Pro's case, which Con brought up.

Sourcing was equal enough.

As to arguments: Pro had presumptive BoP. If Pro wants us to agree that minimum prison sentences should stop, Pro needs to give us some kind of reason to switch. No reason was given--Pro merely pointed out some perceived flaws in the system, without ever giving us reason to think those flaws would be remedied by the proposed change. And while Pro threw out assertions, Con pointed out that they appeared unsubstantiated. While Pro objected to imprisonment in general, and the shifting of discretion from judges to prosecutors not resulting in a decrease in sentence disparity, Pro failed to show how ending minimum sentences would change any of that, and fails prima facie to uphold the resolution. Arguments to Con.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.