The Instigator
Lee001
Pro (for)
Winning
3 Points
The Contender
simonstuffles
Con (against)
Losing
1 Points

For-profit prisons in the United States should be banned.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Lee001
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/25/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,076 times Debate No: 72327
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (11)
Votes (1)

 

Lee001

Pro

This debate is apart of the March Beginner's tournament, hosted by bsh1. Thank you bsh1 for all of you're time and effort that was put into organizing this.

In this debate, will be argued "For-profit prisons in the United States should be banned." I being Pro, my opponent being Con.

As Pro, I will be convincing you as to why U.S prisons should be banned.

Definitions:

Banned: To prohibit (an action) or forbid the use of (something), especially by official decree.

Prison: A place for the confinement and punishment of persons convicted of crimes, especially felonies.

The BoP is shared.

Structure:
Round 1 : Acceptance/Argument
Round 2: Rebuttal's and Argument's
Round 3: Rebuttal's and Argument's
Round 4: Conclusion.

I wish my opponent good luck!

Source's :
http://www.thefreedictionary.com...

https://dictionary.search.yahoo.com...
simonstuffles

Con

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
Lee001

Pro

Let me define a Private Prison: Private prisons
Prison facilities run by private prison corporations whose services and beds are contracted out by state governments or the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

or can be defined as

"A private prison or for-profit prison is a place in which individuals are physically confined or interned by a third party that is contracted by a government agency. Private prison companies typically enter into contractual agreements with governments that commit prisoners and then pay a per diem or monthly rate for each prisoner in the facility. The privatization of prisons refers both to the takeover of existing public facilities as well as the building and operation of new and additional prisons by for-profit companies."

The main problem with profit and non-profit prisons are : One of the main differences between publicly run and privately run prisons in the U.S. is the level of violence that occurs. Taking a look at the four privately run prisons in the state of Mississippi as an example, the assault rate was three times higher than that of state-run prisons.

In this 1st argument will be that "Private prisoner's have to much freedom, thus causing more violence"

Private Prisoner's have allot more freedom then a regular prison in a non private prison.

Here are just a few examples:

The ACLU recently filed a lawsuit against the East Mississippi Correctional Facility (EMCF), a privately run prison, on behalf of the inmates. According to this lawsuit, the number of abuses include rampant rapes, prisoners placed in poorly supervised solitary confinement for months at a time, stabbings, beatings, and other acts of violence occurring on a regular basis (whether the guards are involved or turning a blind eye).

In a non- profit prisons, there is much more protections, such as video camera's and having security guard's on each level patrolling and keeping an eye out for the inmates making sure peace is maintained. While in a regular prison, there is much more security. There are 4 types of securities. Maximum Security, Close Security, Medium Security and Minimum security. As you can tell there is much more protection in a non-profit.

Another example: Juveniles are put in cells with adults, where they are oftentimes sexually (or otherwise) assaulted. Malnourishment and chronic hunger are also reported as facts of life at the EMCF. At least one mentally ill prisoner was maced so severely that after the officers finally went in to his cell (after waiting nearly 20 minutes), he was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead. Yet medical staff still continued to document his status in their daily records as being in 'good health and mood' for several days after his death.

Now, prison's aren't suppose to be a happy go-lucky place, but you should be able to have you're medical conditions taken care of and you're safety should be put in perspective. This is why we have a Juvenile hall, to put kids whom are under the age of 18 in. It's very unsafe to put them with adult's whom have committed worse crimes then they have, then these kids get taken advantage of. This is a huge violation to the 4th amendment when it states that "No person shall be deprived of life" which in this case, inmates are being deprived by non having their illnesses' taken care of.

I will not expand anymore on this, I think you get the point.

I look forward to con's argument!

Sources used:

http://www.bjs.gov...
http://www.outsiderclub.com...
http://prison.laws.com...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://jonathanturley.org...
simonstuffles

Con

Thanks to Lee01 for some great points!
A few issues, though. Firstly, Pro should hold the BoP, since this is a policy debate; but I can't really dispute that, now that I've accepted. Secondly my opponents use of sources and their format is questionable. Typically, one should assign a source number and refer to each number as you back a particular point, rather than lumping all the sources at the end. This leaves me, and the voters, confused as to what points she has actually backed up. I'll lay off the sources for this round, so my opponent has chance to rectify this structure.

Rebuttals
Essentially, my opponent raises a single argument - that there is more violence in private prisons, due to the freedoms afforded to the prisoners. She raises a two cases in which abuses have occurred in private prisons, but this does not actually support her premise. She needs to provide objective proof that private prisons have greater levels of violence than state prisons, and also that this occurs because they are private.
She then goes on to assert that Juveniles are put in cells with adults, which is unjust. I concede this. It's not really relevant.

Negative Case
C1: Private prisons should not be banned because P1: they save the government money and P2: they prevent overcrowding.

P1: Cost Savings
When barriers to entry and regulations are removed, competition and enterprise drive innovations and promote market efficiency. This market efficiency is not found within state prisons because there is a lack of competition, and thus here exists no incentive to innovate. This is not just speculation, a 2007 analysis of state prison management concluded that there have been "widespread problems and deficiencies in many public prisons." [1]
This laissez-faire model was also affirmed by a 2002 report which analysed 28 studies noted that: "Following along the lines of the capitalist model of competition previously suggested as a benefit of private prisons, show that the introduction of privatization urges managers (both from public and private facilities) to implement cost-effective strategies while maintaining quality of services to remain competitive," and finally concluded "privatization saves money without reducing quality." [2]
[1] http://www.cca.com...
[2] http://reason.org...

P2: Overcrowding Solution
SP1: Overcrowding is a problem
In recent years, due to the American obsession with incarceration, prison populations that skyrocketed, and the US has one of the world's largest. Because of this, a number of overcrowding incidents have occurred in state prisons, often resulting in early release. [1] In California, a group prisoners actually sued a state prison, claiming that overcrowding was preventing them from receiving adequate health care and thus violating their rights. [2]
SP2: Private prisons can solve it
Building state prison facilities is a slow and bureaucratic process involving lots of needless paperwork. It's undeniable that private prisons can be used sensibly to alleviate stresses and demand on state prisons, even if one is principally against using an entirely privatised system.
[1] http://www.dailymail.co.uk...
[2] http://www.prisonlaw.com...

Conclusion
Even with the BoP as shared, banning aprivate prisons is a tough burden to fill, and Pro certainly has not done it yet, my opponents contentions being largely unsupported. I've provided convincing evidence that supports premises crucial to the debate. Private prisons can be effectively employed as the tool of an effective government in order to limit overcrowding and other cost issues pertinent to incarceration.
Debate Round No. 2
Lee001

Pro

Thank you for your well written response.

Before I begin my argument and rebuttal's I must inform you of something first : Con say's that "Typically, one should assign a source number and refer to each number as you back a particular point, rather than lumping all the sources at the end" Technically it's not a requirement to number your sources, but I'll do as you wish.

Rebuttals: P1: Cost Savings
Con in this round dosen't specifically speficy as to how a "private prison" is cost effective. So I'm unsure as how to rebutt this but i'll try.
Con states that: "Following along the lines of the capitalist model of competition previously suggested as a benefit of private prisons, show that the introduction of privatization urges managers (both from public and private facilities) to implement cost-effective strategies while maintaining quality of services to remain competitive,"
This is infact, not true. It has been proven multiple times that "private prisions" do cost much more then a public prison. Let's use the Airizona public prison for example. Instead of saving money, they are actually loosing money. It cost's [1]" $3.5 million a year — by turning their inmates over to for-profit corporations." [2] "According to the Tucson Citizen’s analysis of Arizona’s three oldest private prison contracts, the rate to hold one prisoner for one night has increased 13.9% since the contracts were awarded. Compared to the cost of state-run prisons, Arizona overpaid for its private prison beds by $10 million between 2008 and 2010." As you can see, keeping an inmate in a private prison has increased by 13.9% and overpaid prison bed's by $10 million. This is way much more then an actual public prision would cost and spend.[3] ""the state's own data indicate that inmates in private prisons can cost as much as $1,600 more per year, while many cost about the same as they do in state-run prisons." As you can see, private prisons dont save any money.
Rebuttals: P2: Overcrowding Solution
State Prisons may have been overcrowded, but what prison isn't with the amout of inmate's we have in the U.S. Private prisons are not only just "overcrowded" but they are infact far more dangerous. They also have way to much freedom.
Con states: "Building state prison facilities is a slow and bureaucratic process involving lots of needless paperwork. It's undeniable that private prisons can be used sensibly to alleviate stresses and demand on state prisons, even if one is principally against using an entirely privatised system. [4] " According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the quantity of state and federal prisons increased by almost ten percent, primarily because of the increase in private prisons. In 2008, nearly eight percent of all prisoners were housed in private prisons, according to the bureau. Utilizing private prisons may seem like a panacea for the struggling U.S. prison system, but the evidence shows that the risks outweigh any potential benefits." As you read, not is there just overcrowding in the provate prison's, but there is great risk's in building theese private prisions. They hardly have any room for more inmates, just like a regualr state runned prison.
New argument: Violence, Abuse and Death
Like I said in R1, a prison isn't suppose to be fun, you are there to learn a lesson and pay your time. This dosen't give ANYONE the right though to abuse the prisoner's, it's no-one's job. [5] "When comparing for-profit prisons with public, a nationwide study found that assaults on guards by inmates were 49 percent more frequent in private prisons than in government-run prisons." It's no-one's right to abuse theese prisoner's. If a guard or someone has something against them, then they shouldn't be wroking on the same floor as them, it's not only common knowledge, but you're violationg their right's as human's as well.
Not only is there abuse and violence, but many death's take place by the lack of supervison.
Jury Awards Over $40 Million to Family of Inmate Killed in Beating – [6] "Gregorio De La Rosa, an honorably discharged former National Guardsman, was serving a six-month sentence for drug possession at a prison in Raymondville, Texas operated by GEO Group (then known as Wackenhut). The details of the case are laid out in a damning 2009 Court of Appeals ruling that upheld most of a $40 million dollar jury verdict against the company and Warden David Forrest. See ruling here (PDF). A few days before his expected release in 2001, Gregorio was beaten to death by two other inmates using a lock tied to a sock, an incident that prompted officers and wardens to smirk and laugh, as well as allegations of a cover-up and destruction of evidence. After the Court of Appeals ruling, the case was settled for an undisclosed amount."
That isn't the ony case but here are more. *Note that all of theese cases are from the same source.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
*GEO Settles Suit with Family of a Woman who Committed Suicide after Reporting Rape
*State of Texas Fines Company $625,000 and Terminates $12 Million Contract for Mismanagement of Jail; 12 Employees Charged with Sexual Assault
*Widespread Abuse and Sexual Assault at GEO-Operated Juvenile Prison Results in "Groundbreaking" Settlement and Consent Decree
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Conclusion: Private prisons are not only very expensive and dangerous, but allot of cruel things go on, not my just the inmates but by the worker's as well. How is this okay?
Sources:
simonstuffles

Con

Likewise. Sorry about this late reply, I'm currently in Switzerland and only briefly able to connect to the Internet.

Although it's not a requirement to even use sources, if one wishes to construct coherent contentions you'll find it useful to format sources in a more organised way.

Defense:
P1: Cost Savings
In my constructive case, I developed an well-founded argument that explained why and how private prisons save money. I initially referred to a simple lassiez-faire framework and cited a comprehensive analysis of the costs in private and state prisons. Pro essentially drops all this and refers only to an analysis of a single state. This is not representative of the other private prison systems in America. The situation in Arizona actually backs up my second argument: private prisons as an overcrowding solution. Arizona faced a serious overcrowding dilemma back in 2003, and this problem was resolved by building of a number of private prisons alongside state ones.
[1] http://afsc.org...

P2: Overcrowding Solution

In Pro's source, the bureau concedes that most of these, aside from the Tennessee study contained: "serious methodlogical flaws that limit their ability to reach firm conclusions." That analysis didn't conclude anything of worth, given these flaws. She then goes on to argue that since only 8% of prisoners are housed in private prisons, they are not making an impact on the overcrowding issue. This does not make any sense: this means ~128,000 prisoners are not clogging up state prisons. Pro declares that prisoners have more freedom in private prisons, and this is bad. There is no evidence for this. But even adopting this premise we come to the same conclusion: the resolution is negated if I can construct a situation in which private prisons are useful, or better than state prisons, since the government is not forced into contracting private prisons, they may choose not to use them. For more minor offenses it is important to ensure sufficient freedoms to prisoners, or unhealthy resentment will occur, so a state might see fit to contract private prisons for minor offenses.

Rebuttals
Violence, Abuse and Death
Most of Pro's argument is not relevant, as they refer to individual cases whilst we are analysing a trend/causal link. The remaining section refers to the Bureau analysis, which actually doesn't even mention this 49% figure, never mind comment on it's credibility.

Conclusion
Most of Pro's argument has relied on the assumed premise of a false dichotomy (we either ban private prisons, or all prisons will be private and we will experience their disadvantages) I have referred to a number of instances where private prisons excel (costs, overcrowding, etc) and their is little reason private prisons should be banned. I'm not advocating an entirely privatised prison system, but a moderated mixture of state and private prisons in order to assist the problems within America's justice system.
Debate Round No. 3
Lee001

Pro

Rebuttal: P1: Cost Savings
Con says that "In my constructive case, I developed an well-founded argument that explained why and how private prisons save money. I initially referred to a simple lassiez-faire framework and cited a comprehensive analysis of the costs in private and state prisons. Pro essentially drops all this and refers only to an analysis of a single state" I didnt necasarrily deny nor ignore the "lassiez-faire " I simply went around it, but focusing on one state and using that as an example. I used Airizona for example. I created a whole case as to why Private Prisons are a waste of money, and why they are bad at handeling money. If you would like to read more here: http://www.thenation.com...
Rebuttal: P2: Overcrowding Solution
Then Con goes on to say that "Pro declares that prisoners have more freedom in private prisons, and this is bad. There is no evidence for this." When I'm pretty sure that I did give an example of as to how to much freedom causes troubble and why it's bad:
  • In FY 2009-10, there were 150 completed escapes, 144 or 96.0% were recaptured as of July 1. Of the 144 who were recaptured, 86 or 64.2% were recaptured within 24 hours of their escape.
  • Of the 150 completed escapes, 146 (97.3%) were from non-secure work release/contract centers; 3 (2.0%) were from a work camp/road prison, and 1 (0.7%) of the inmates who escaped was housed in prison but was on an outside work detail when he escaped.
  • There were 5 attempted (and foiled) escapes from Florida correctional facilities during Fiscal Year 2009-10.
  • To ensure public safety and maintain low number of escapes from inside prisons, the Department bolsters three factors: a zero tolerance policy for escapes; the implementation of a comprehensive security audit program; and replacing and upgrading perimeter barriers including fences, razor wire and installing electronic detection systems.

http://www.dc.state.fl.us...

So explain to me how this isn't bad?

Rebuttal Violence, Abuse and Death
Most of Pro's argument is not relevant, as they refer to individual cases whilst we are analysing a trend/causal link. The remaining section refers to the Bureau analysis, which actually doesn't even mention this 49% figure, never mind comment on it's credibility.

"Individual Cases"? Exactly, what was I suppose to do, make a story up about all the different cases. I had to focus on one at a time so people could understand each case. You are right, I did also refer to a link so if people wanted to read more about the case they could.

Conclusion: Note that all Con wants to do is complain as to how or why my point's are "irrelevant" in his eyes, he never fully rebutts them and gives reasoning's as to why or how I am right or wrong, yet he basically judges the sentence, but dosen't tell me as to why it's irrelevant.

simonstuffles

Con

P1: "I simply went around it, but focusing on one state and using that as an example. I used [sic] Airizona for example."
This is exactly the issue. My studies reported cost savings within private prisons, relative to state prisons, through analysing a substantial sample. You reported a single instance where cost savings did not occur, but this does not successfully refute my contention that private prisons save the state money.

P2: I apologise for misunderstanding your argument, I had thought 'freedom', in this context, was referring to luxuries and time afforded to prisoners. If freedom is just how easy it is to escape there still isn't any evidence that substantiates your contention that private prisons actually have more 'freedom'. Your source shows all prison escapes regardless of whether they were housed in a state or private prison.

R1: I told you exactly why most of your sources are irrelevant - they refer to individual cases whilst we are analysing a trend/causal link for a policy debate. To support your contention, you should have cited the conclusions made from a comprehensive analysis regarding violence in state and private prisons.

Conclusion: My first contention lies unrefuted and has been well-supported. My second contention has been largely ignored whilst Pro's claims have been weakly supported and not actually representive of real data. Pro has not very little to show that private prisons should be banned, whereas I have shown several instances, situations and qualities where private prisons are resolutely superior. Vote Con!
Thanks for the debate Pro!
Debate Round No. 4
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by bluesteel 1 year ago
bluesteel
======================================================================
>Reported voted: chrisjachimiac // Moderator action: Removed<

5 points to Con (arguments, sources). RFD = Reasons for voting decision: Pro- I agreed with you before, but after the debate, Con changed my mind. Your arguments are pretty good, accept your common mistake that a non-profit prison is a Government Run Prison. There are so many disads against this, that con could have attacked (Examples- Tax-payers, lobbying, Etc.) Con- You win on Convincing arguments, because essentially you flipped my vote, from agreeing with pro, to agreeing with you. That is already convincing enough. You win on reliable sources, due to pro had more but your's were higher quality. Quality>Quantity. Any other questions can be asked to me through messages, or comments. Good job overall.

[*Reason for removal*] It's impressive that this RFD manages to be so long, but says so little. It doesn't actually explain what arguments Con made that were convincing, nor why Con's sources were of higher quality.
=====================================================================
Posted by bsh1 1 year ago
bsh1
In the interests of time, and to keep the tournament moving along swiftly, I am going to call it here. If there are any changes to the vote count, please notify me. But I think we're just going to move along with the next round.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
RFD (Pt. 1):

While this was an interesting debate, both debaters seem to be arguing past each other rather than engaging in actual clash. I don't see much going on here beyond the separate cases, and both have their problems. I'll get into that more on the analysis of the cases themselves, which will come presently.

Pro's Case:

Pro starts by throwing all of her eggs in one basket, arguing that the freedom of prisoners in the for-profit system is necessarily harmful. She points to several cases where prisoners have been egregiously harmed by other prisoners, explains that "regular" (i.e. non-profit) prisons generally have higher security, and showcases how it puts juveniles in harm's way. This is a pretty good way to start off a case, but it feels like it's missing something. It begs the question: why is a ban on for-profit prisons necessarily the best way to respond to this problem?

In fact, all of Pro's case begs the same question. I don't see her ever specifically supporting a ban as the most effective means of response to any of the harms she points out later either. The point about prison guards abusing more often in private prisons and the incidence of escapes are nice harms present in the current private prison system, but I don't see Pro ever saying that they're endemic to it. Con actually points this out multiple times over the course of the debate, often arguing that the statistics and sources Pro uses are solely focused on single or local examples rather than any nationwide problem.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
(Pt. 2)

That being said, these points are never really addressed in detail. Con spends minimal time on rebuttals, often dismissing points without making clear why they should be dismissed. The best responses I see just mitigate Pro's case lightly, giving me reasons to weigh Con's higher in certain respects (more on this when I get to his case). This is a problem because a) dismissing Pro's advantages doesn't make them disappear, b) the weighing arguments are threadbare, c) it doesn't make Pro's sources irrelevant, simply less broadly applicable, and d) Pro is the only one giving me any actual numbers to weigh in the debate. That last one seems especially problematic to me because it's very difficult to weigh a nebulous set of impacts against something much more solid as Pro has presented. Granted, she doesn't do all the work she should have done on these points (e.g. explaining why prison breaks are harmful), but she does far more to explain the weight of these harms than Con does.

Con's Case:

Just a note on organization " don't start with rebuttal, especially when you're planning on spending so little time there. Build your case first. Make it the focus of your arguments, and take the focus off your opponent's case. It's a strategic thing, but it can matter a lot.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
(Pt. 3)

Con's case is more diverse than Pro's to start. She talks about cost savings and overcrowding, both very reasonable points to present on this topic. What I get a lot of in Con's case, and what I'm happy to see, is warrants. This was something missing from Pro's case, as she often asserts that negative impacts occur because of the for-profit system, though without explaining why. But as I mentioned above, it's extremely unclear what the impact of these disadvantages is. How large is the cost savings currently from using for-profit prisons? I don't get any idea of what that looks like, or even why cost savings matter. That might seem obvious " money = good " but when I'm weighing it against basic safety and health harms, it seems difficult to justify. It's not hard to say that those funds could go towards better health care services for prisoners, but it has to be said.

How much of a problem is overcrowding? Con eventually uses Pro's numbers to show that over 100,000 people would have to be crammed into other facitilities, but I don't see any assessment of the harms that would cause. There are plenty of articles talking about disease spreading in some prisons, how many prisons aren't up to code, how violence breaks out in overcrowded prisons, etc. These things really should have appeared somewhere in Con's case. Simply saying that they aren't "receiving adequate health care" isn't much of an argument when I'm unsure what they're suffering from. Similarly, I'm not sure what the stresses on the system are doing to the government. The government deals with bureaucracy on a day-to-day basis. Why should I care specifically about this bureaucracy and this extra stress?
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
(Pt. 4)

But, and I feel like I'm repeating myself here, none of these points are ever very well addressed. Pro spends some time presenting local stats to counter Con's case, but none of it is very effective when Pro's not addressing Con's warrants. Con spends a lot of time talking about how his impacts are broadly applicable and that, since they apply across the country whereas Pro's examples are much more localized, his impacts should be preferred. I don't get a response to that.

However, I think Con's biggest mistake was sticking with status quo for his arguments. That seemed unnecessary to me, especially when Pro's practically handing him a counterplan that regulates for-profit prisons. It seems to me that that could have garnered Con all the same impacts of Pro's case while avoiding the harms he presents in his.

Conclusion:

This debate left me wanting more. There was not a lot of material discussed, and much of what was discussed was still very shallow. The debate just didn't go anywhere interesting, as Pro presented new arguments that were basically just minimalist expansions on the first, while Con rehashed the same points over and over with little in the way of new material coming out after R2. Perhaps this had more to do with limited connection time, but simply touting your previous argument and restating the same basic rebuttal isn't going to advance your case.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
(Pt. 5)

So I'm left to decide whom I should vote for based on what I consider most important. Con spends much of his rounds telling me that the most important thing is that the winner have well-supported and unrefuted contentions, but that by itself isn't sufficient to win the debate, especially when both sides have large swaths of dropped points. I was tempted after reading this to vote Con, mainly because I feel he's the only one who made any effort to weigh the points beyond just presenting numbers, but I have a hard time doing so because it requires that I weigh based on nebulous impacts with strong warrants. I don't know how to weigh those impacts, whether I'm asked to do so or not. I can say that those impacts are more likely than Pro's, but nothing more than that. The only person giving me the means to weigh arguments in this debate is Pro, and much as she doesn't seem to realize that she's done it, her arguments hold the most objective clout, even if they are overgeneralized. Ergo, I vote Pro.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
I'll get a vote up on this either today or tomorrow.
Posted by BblackkBbirdd 1 year ago
BblackkBbirdd
"Typically, one should assign a source number and refer to each number as you back a particular point, rather than lumping all the sources at the end. "
Everyone does that :)
Posted by Lee001 1 year ago
Lee001
Yes.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
Lee001simonstufflesTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:31 
Reasons for voting decision: Given in comments. S&G to Con, mainly because Pro's points included quite a few spelling errors that made it choppy to read.