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

I think the felony should decide if they want life in prison or death penalty

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/2/2015 Category: People
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 842 times Debate No: 78338
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (13)
Votes (1)




I think that the felony should decide if they want life in prison or the death penalty. I think its makes that whole situation more humane.


Hi Pro and thanks for the debate.

There are few issues I find with this.


This is only legally possible in states that have the option of death penalty. So felon can only decide this in those states. So this does not apply to all the felons but just some percentage of them. Since Instigator haven`t defined this I could argue that felon means every felon but I wont do that because it would be cheap.


Life in prison and death by execution have very different effects on ones life. If we gave prisoner the liberty to choose his own punishment we would go against the very idea of state deciding the proper punishment based upon the laws of the state. Death penalty is supported in some states for a reasons. Allowing the felon to choose death penalty or not would make state arbitrary in this decision.

Third 1. part

Part of the punishment is so that the justice is served. Justice is by definition the suspension of mercy and giving a felon the ability to choose between life and death is mercy. I agree that having mercy upon those criminals would make the whole situation more humane but the question is if should we focus on being more humane to those who took lives and freedoms out of their victims. If anything maybe family of the victim should decide. But that has whole list of problems and is separate issue I refuse to discuss here.

Third 2. part

Why stop there ? If we allow them to choose if they wanna die or live in prison, if we wanna be more humane, why not give them deadly amount of sleeping pills so they can choose to die painlessly at any time. Just like we can. Why did we stripped them from those freedoms ? Why cant they decide which cell they want, which cell mates they want, which prison, which floor, which food, which guards ? That's because we hold them responsible for those crimes and we think that they don't deserve mercy for capital crimes.

End of arguments.

I will stop here for now. Since pro haven't stated any arguments beside "more humane situation" I will not post any arguments for the last round so that we both have same amount of rounds for arguments (in a case that Pro wants that)

Good luck to the Pro.
Debate Round No. 1


Jacob1030 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by hldemi 1 year ago
Thats very thoughtful . I was thinking that at the time they end up in prison its already too late. If they had right moral code they would not end up in prison in the first place. You are right about self esteem. I think that with proper psychological work some of them can be rehabilitated to be at least a bit better. Thanks for your information. I certainly learned a lot from you.
Posted by Kyle_the_Heretic 1 year ago
Only one in a thousand inmates would choose to die, if that many. But you have to think about the families, and friends, inside the prison and out. It wouldn't just be a simple matter of ending an inmates life upon request.

Improvement can be made, but it needs to be made on the outside, not in the prison. But since that doesn't seem to be an option, then I would say that we should make greater efforts to teach inmates self-esteem. The higher they regard themselves, the higher they regard others.
Posted by hldemi 1 year ago
Thanks for the insight Kyle. You just proved how experience always beats naivety of theoretical approach with no experience in the field. Those indeed are real problems and you are right. I still believe that there is a lot to be accomplished with inmates, Its just that we lack proper understanding, resources and right way to do it. There must be something that works better then some other things.

Anyway, what do you think, should we let prisoners decide if they want life in prison or death penalty ?
Posted by Kyle_the_Heretic 1 year ago
Even inmates who will get out soon disobey the rules. They just try real hard not to get caught. Taking away prisoner interaction is a good way to incite one riot after another. In those super max prisons where inmates are not allowed to interact, they slowly lose their minds. Is that more humane? Feeding them individually, or in small group would require enormous resources and cost thousands more than it already costs to sustain them. In the US they already have TV, radio, windows, magazines, newspapers, musical instruments and just about everything else they can get on the outside except for transportation, weapons and alcohol, and they make the weapons and alcohol themselves. As I stated earlier, inmates have more rights than most free people. They are not treated like animals, despite the fact that they almost always act like animals. To avoid giving them cellmates, many more prisons would have to be built. Thousands of criminals are set free because there just isn't enough room to keep them all.

While I was a prison guard, my brother was a policeman, and is now a private detective. Over and over again he has watched men who robbed stores, assaulted woman, or nearly killed someone, walk free, because there just aren't enough cells. I watched men set free, just to be found dead a week later, because they couldn't stay out of trouble. The majority of deaths were overdoses. These guys aren't boy scouts.

To satisfy the bleeding hearts, we gave them pool tables. They threw the cue balls at us. One man I worked with was permanently brain damaged. We gave them weight lifting equipment. They used the bars and weights as weapons against us and each other. Three inmates were killed, and two guards injured. We try to make prison life more tolerable, and they reject it. It's not the attitudes of the people working the system that make prison life hard, it the inmates themselves. The harder people try to help them, the less the inmates cooperate.
Posted by hldemi 1 year ago
Yeah I meant fate ofc.

I dont think so Kyle. I agree that much of the misery is created by inmates. And of course that life without parole prisoners wont obey the rules but that does not mean that we cant force them by creating different prison system. Prisoners can hurt other prisoners only if they can interact with each other, right ? So create a system for those high risk prisoners where they cant interact as much. Dont allow them to eat collectively, limit their movement, dont let them have cellmates, but change other stuff to compensate for the lack of social interaction. Give them TV, radio, give them windows with proper look and enough sunlight. Give them better meals and care. Give them some educational programs where they can learn to read and to work.

Prisons were build not to be humane because we stopped treating criminals as a people. If you take a look between some European prisons and some USA prisons you can see the big difference in life standards. Dont torture prisoners by design. A whole books are written on how to improve life in prisons. It can be improved its just that we would rather invest in war then in prisons or education.

Giving prisoners legal choice to kill themselves if life is hard is not a solution at all. Give them proper psychological care. Get them better doctors, better trained guards, cells with no death corners where they can easily kill themselves. There is no need to further punish the prisoner that is removed from society.

Its not prisoners that are problem but out mentality that works like this : fck them, stupid rapists and murderers , let them rot, why should we invest in prisons.
Posted by Kyle_the_Heretic 1 year ago
I believe you meant to write "their own fate".

Creating more humane prison conditions with higher life standards and regulations is a great deal easier said than done, if not nearly impossible. Much of the misery in prisons is created by the inmates. They are not there because they want to obey rules and regulations. Basically, there is as much chance for "higher life standards" in prison as there is for the proverbial snowball in Hell.
Posted by hldemi 1 year ago
@ Kyle_the_Heretic

Not necesarilly you but to anyone that joins in advance. Because this went other way so quickly.

@Hellywon Ok. Its just that you wrote nothing to back it up. I agree with you that for some prisoners life in prison may be living hell and way worse then painless death. Nobody argued about that. And its not the issue here. The issue is "why should we give them the option to choose" their own faith.

Also death as an escape from prison is not solution to bad life in prisons problem. The solution to that is to create more humane prison conditions with higher life standards and regulations.

You are basically arguing euthanasia for not terminally ill but for treatable disease.
Posted by hellywon 1 year ago
ya exactly prisoners should be allowed to choose.
Posted by Kyle_the_Heretic 1 year ago
You guys? Why would you think I was confused?
Posted by hldemi 1 year ago
Just to remind you guys that the debate is about giving the prisoners an option to choose between life in prison or death by execution. This is not debate about life in prison vs state execution. Those are two separate matters.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by imabench 1 year ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: ff