The Instigator
eosh89
Pro (for)
Winning
3 Points
The Contender
bedwards12
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Has the prison system been designed to keep the poor locked up and the rich free?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
eosh89
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/2/2012 Category: Society
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,360 times Debate No: 21669
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (5)
Votes (1)

 

eosh89

Pro

The U.S. prison system has been designed to keep the poor in and the rich out.
bedwards12

Con

The US prison system is fair. The US Prison system has been designed in order to treat all criminals fairly.
Debate Round No. 1
eosh89

Pro

Prison Nation: the Warehousing of America's Poor is a wonderful book that does a great job of exposing a lot of flaws that exist in the system. Every one is responsible for their actions. If you do the crime then you should do the time, however not every one who does the crime and is caught does the time. However if you take sociological conflict theory approach and apply it you can see a much larger picture. Capital Crime was an excellent chapter that highlighted a large flaw in the justice system. For example take a man who sells marijuana and is picked up, and has to serve 4 years in prison as a sentence. Maybe he was selling to feed his children. Maybe he came from a poverty stricken area and that's all he has ever known. It doesn't actually matter, guilty is guilty. Now lets compare it to a large corporations that commit crimes. In 2000, the Food and Drug Association spent $1.4 billion to regulate pharmaceutical drugs that are known to cause 50,000-100,000 deaths per year. $30-$40 billion dollars were spent to regulate the illegal drug trade, which causes 8,000-10,000 deaths a year. All too often no one is ever deemed responsible for any of these crimes. So why is the man selling marijuana, which has been never been linked to a direct result cause to any death in the history of marijuana use, serving time, while people who are responsible for thousands because it puts money in their pockets escaping?

(This is in no way intended to be an argument about marijuana, it is just an example.)
bedwards12

Con

In regards to the huge corporations it would be literally impossible to regulate everything that they do. Furthermore, the drugs that these companies are selling are legal unlike marijuana. Also, these companies are selling drugs in stores which means they are taxed and dues are being paid to the government. Someone who is selling marijuana is selling an illegal drug. Also, they are selling it on the side and making a profit without taxing it. Therefore, what they are doing is illegal and they should be punished.
Debate Round No. 2
eosh89

Pro

Wonderful points. All are true. Prison Nation's chapter: Capital Crime's also exposes individuals that work for such large companies such as the man who was top executive of Bank of America. He was caught for laundering billions of dollars to Russian Mobsters in 1999. He pleaded guilty and still did not serve time. What about the banks that laundered billions for heroine that was used to fund the Taliban during the civil war back in the 80's. These companies, unlike the poor man, have the money and the resources for things such as off-shore bank accounts that allow further escape regulating. The justice system does demonstrate favoritism which goes against everything our justice system stands for.
bedwards12

Con

Okay, good points! But what about the people who do not get off? It's not fair to say that all rich people get off when some of them do not. Also, think about all the deals that drug dealers make in order to get off or lesser sentences themselves. As for rich people, take Martha Stewart, she is rich and famous and was still convicted and served time.
Debate Round No. 3
eosh89

Pro

Okay, good points! But what about the people who do not get off? It's not fair to say that all rich people get off when some of them do not. Also, think about all the deals that drug dealers make in order to get off or lesser sentences themselves. As for rich people, take Martha Stewart, she is rich and famous and was still convicted and served time.

Majority of the rich escape the bearing of any responsibility, however as for the ones who do not, jail life for them is different from jail life for the poverty stricken man. Martha Stewart served 5 months in prison, and then 5 months in home confinement for lying to federal investigators about a stock sale. Any regular individual would see years of cold hard prison sentence. They have jails where inmates who can afford it can pay about $250 a day to endure in a jail sentence that is as good as a vacation hotel stay. They are segregated from all the other inmates who can not afford the suite cell that they can. These people face easier sentences and shorter sentences. For example Lindsey Lohnan was a young, rich, drug using, individual who time after time of violating her probation. She was sentenced to 90 days but was released after a few hours.

The real truth lies in most of the people who hold the money or power never see the inside of a prison cell. I'm also talking about people in the system itself who use it unjustly or brutally and never receive consequences for it. Police brutality is an issue that occurs every day and yet it is rarely ever brought to the surface. "The Restraint Chair" was a chapter about the restraint chairs that are used in multiple facilities across America and other countries in the world as long as they "believe in human rights." The restraint chair is used to restrain any one who is a threat to themselves or others. From a functionalist point of view, when used properly, the chair is a useful tool. However, when used unprofessionally it can be a lethal torture device.
When used properly the chair can restrain a dangerous excited person who serves as a threat. It is a tool that can safeguard the people who are doing their jobs. How ever where there is good, there is usually bad.
The chapter provided many examples of people suffered from permanent injuries, to people who have died. People have been placed in the chair nude, degraded, forced to defecate on themselves, hooded, beaten, pepper sprayed, and the list goes on. Why in the world would any one need to pepper spray an individual who has been restrained? There is no possible way for them to be a threat. People have been left in the chair from hours to days. Because of the neglect people have suffered from blood clots, asphyxiation, and in extreme cases; death. These are occurrences that go on and at the end of the day no one assumes responsibility for any of it and it's ironic that such injustice would stem from our justice system.
bedwards12

Con

Okay good, but when it comes to the "Restraint Chair" don't you think it can be beneficial? Think about water-boarding and how much information was gained from those people. If people are committing a crime they should do the time right? It's also true that if a person knows a crime is going to be committed they should tell in order to keep everyone safe. Furthermore, police only use force like that when absolutely necessary and they have no other option. Also, in this case, people are not discriminated against based on their financial standing, if anything it is most likely the rich and powerful that are prone to this kind of things, because they are higher up and know more information.
Debate Round No. 4
eosh89

Pro

Of course it could be beneficial if used in that way but these are not terrorist who with hold useful information. These are individuals who possibly just drank a little too much one night. It's not actually about if the chair can be beneficial or not it is about the people who abuse the power of the chair. Innocent deaths have resulted and the police department brushed it under a rug like nothing had ever happened. Yes police end up in scenarios where ecessive force is necessary, and when provoked they should use it for their own protection. As for the police officer who pepper sprayed the man in the restraint chair, or the police around the nation that have pepper sprayed or used brutality on peaceful protesters for occupy wall street and other sit ins. These people go unpunished while individuals who commit less serious crimes are punished and face much more difficult sentences.

Saying "people are not discriminated against based on their financial standing, if anything it is most likely the rich and powerful that are prone to this kind of things, because they are higher up and know more information." would be making a statement with no supporting evidence. There are plenty powerful people in the world with money who are complete idiots. They are higher up but they do not obtain more information. They obtain the money and resources as a source of justification.

FInally before I conclude I would like to shed light on one more issue. The ultimate underdog that gets caught up in all of this chaos. The immigrants who find there way trapped in a system, and end up in a limbo type scenario. . Kim Ho Ma and Kestutis Zadvydas were two men that had immigrated to the U.S. at a very young age with their families fleeing for refuge. Kim was jailed under a gang related murder, and Zadvydas was jailed in a drug related crime. After serving their time they were both put on a list for deportation. The problem how ever was they did not have a state to return to in their home country.
I do agree with the idea that immigrants should be deported after serious crimes but what I do not agree with is the idea of "indefinite detention." When the U.S. does not want them, and their original country does not want them, these men are put into indefinite detention for how ever the INS feels is a reasonable amount of time. It is a nice way to camouflage that realistically it means forever. These people will never have a chance to live life free again and it can happen because of something as little as a drug charge. These people are referred to as "lifters."
This is a common problem that never reaches the media on a large scale. Dan Malone is a reporter who decided to find out what was going on and what he uncovered was disturbing. He had found out at first there were 53 men who had been in detention for more than three years. When he tried to find out who these individuals were and there stories he was told there were no records of these people existing in the system. He gained another lead through a knowledgeable employee, and again when he went to investigate he was told there were no records of that employee. The so-capped policies realistically just protect the INS's privacy. When he did find inmates to discuss the matter the inmates were threatened if they gave the interview it would have an impact on their pending case. What Dan Malone discovered is there were not fifty-three of these lifters but a whopping eight-hundred-fifty-two. Chances are the numbers are even higher. In a country that prides itself on the term "FREEDOM" it is sickening to hear that this is what goes on behind closed doors.

I would like to wrap up by reviewing my main points. The prison system has been designed to keep the poor in and the rich out. They are given much harsher, longer sentences then the rich. They can not afford expensive lawyers, they cannot buy there way out of it and they can not afford to stay in the more upscale prisons that are available. At the end of the day people of power and money usually escape scot free, or serve a light sentence. Most importantly light should be shed on the immigrants who find themselves trapped in limbo of the U.S. prison system with literally no way out. They have no voices because the people who hold power over them will not let them. All humans are created equal. The point of the justice system is that it is supposed to serve justice equally but in reality it does not. Steps need to be taken and changes need to be made.
bedwards12

Con

All good points! But again, when it comes to immigrants, they are here illegally and are doing something illegal. I agree that they should not be punished forever, but if they commit and crime here in the United States, they should serve their time here and then be sent back. Furthermore, when it comes to immigrants most of them are poor because they are here illegally. This means that they cannot get jobs and often get paid way under minimum wage. Therefore, I wouldn't say that the justice system is treating illegal immigrants unfairly because they are poor per say. They are treating them how they should be treated, they should be punished for crimes they commit. Also, it is not the United States job to make sure that their country wants them back- their countries shouldn't have a choice because that is where those people belong. If they want to come to America there are ways to do it legally!!!
Debate Round No. 5
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Mak-zie 4 years ago
Mak-zie
Dang it! Nevermind.
Posted by Mak-zie 4 years ago
Mak-zie
Okay, I'll take this then.
Posted by eosh89 4 years ago
eosh89
Sorry I can not lengthen it.
Posted by PlanetTutTutTurtle 4 years ago
PlanetTutTutTurtle
Oh well, I might as well take this.
Posted by Mak-zie 4 years ago
Mak-zie
I might take this debate...except for the number of rounds and the debating time are both too high. Could you change it to two or three days debating time and four rounds?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 4 years ago
16kadams
eosh89bedwards12Tied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: I think that both did really well, well did good in the context of this debate, but I think pro had the better statistics and refutations on many points. He cited stats that supported his argument, con didn't.e was also more thorough.