The Instigator
violetviolin
Pro (for)
Winning
12 Points
The Contender
Daimvad
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

In the US Criminal Justice System, rehabilitation ought to be valued above retribution

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
violetviolin
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/18/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 953 times Debate No: 49407
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (6)
Votes (2)

 

violetviolin

Pro

Set up of debate:
Round 1 is clarifications (i.e. set up of debate, rules, and guidelines)
Rounds 2 and 3 are for arguments and rebuttals
Round 4 is for closing points (note: no new arguments in round 4)

Guidelines:
-Philosophy is acceptable, as long as it is legitimate and proven by a philosopher/philosophers whom you cite
-arguments must involve warrants (citations from a reputable source/ clear sound logic)
-as we do not have the ability to cross examine our opponents, it is acceptable to do so in the comments, however for clarification only. Making new arguments ect. is not acceptable in the comments
-other than that, anything is good!!
-If neg would like to further clarify or make changes to the guidelines, please say so in your round 1 and we can discuss in the comments

I look forward t debating my opponent, and seeing his/her view point on the subject
Daimvad

Con

I want to thank my partner for partaking in this debate, and I look forward to an interesting discussion. Couple questions:

1) Is this just a normative debate? Or are we also arguing the pragmatics of the two systems in place, with respect to the criminal justice system?

2) When you say "ought be valued more" you mean it ought be implemented more in status quo?
Debate Round No. 1
violetviolin

Pro

I affirm.
First I would like to offer several topical definitions.

First, recidivism is a tendency to relapse into a previous condition or mode of behavior; especially: relapse into criminal behavior.(Merriam- Webster Dictionary online) Rehabilitation is to bring someone (or something) back to a normal, healthy condition (Merriam- Webster Dictionary online). Retribution is punishment that is considered to be morally right and fully deserved.

The philosophy that my arguments will be working under is utilitarianism. This philosophy basically states that the most moral thing is to promote the greatest good for the greatest amount of people.
A card supporting this is from Rakowski. (The underlined and bolded portions of the test are the sections that are most important to the argument, however no part of the card will ever contradict the segments)

Rakowski states:
The core conviction behind the "ends not means" principle is that normal, blameless [don’t need] human beings are equally valuable, autonomous crea­tures who cannot rightly be used as the tools of other people. But this conviction points in two directions in which Costa and others who have trumpeted the principle (or some related distinction between doing and allowing or positive and negative duties) are loath to go. On one side, it presses toward the consequentialist view that individuals' status as moral equals requires that the number of people kept alive be maximized. Only in this way, the thought runs, can we give due weight to the fundamental equality of persons; to allow more deaths when we can ensure fewer is to treat some people as less valuable than others. Further, killing some to save others, or letting some die for that purpose, does not entail that those who are killed or left to their fate are being used merely as means to the well­being of others, as would be true if they were slain or left to drown merely to please people who would live anyway. They do, of course, in some cases serve as means. But they do not act merely as means. Those who die are no less ends than those who live. It is because they are also no more ends than others whose lives are in the balance that an impartial decision maker must choose to save the more numerous group, even if she must kill to do so.

This card basically states that because all people are equal, it is necessary to save the larger group's well being in order to preserve this equality and morality.

My first argument is that valuing rehabilitation over recidivism will lead to lower rates of recidivism.

The current strategy of incarceration causes recidivism.

Warren writes

Although initially effective in locking up serious and dangerous offenders, overreliance on incarceration is today of limited and diminishing effectiveness as a crime-control strategy. Offender recidivism rates have increased.Three quarters of state prison commitments are for nonviolent offenses, resulting in overcrowded prisonsand shorter prison terms for more dangerous offenders. We over-incarcerate some offenders, and under-incarcerate others. Most important, unlike 30 years ago,there is today an enormous body of sophisticated research proving thatunlikeincarceration, which actuallyincreases offender recidivism, properly designed and operated recidivism- reduction programs can significantly reduce offender recidivism. Such programs are more effective, and more cost-effective, than incarceration in reducing crime rates.

http://static.nicic.gov...

The current strategy of incarceration causes recidivism.

Rehabilitation lowers recidivism rates by allowing convicted criminals to be reintegrated into society.

Rosansky states

Otherprograms including drugrehabilitation, family services, and educationhave allproven to reduce recidivism rates.The United States mustreverse its trend of increasing prison populations andreduce recidivism by involving convicted criminals in these programs. Restorative justice is a system of criminal rehabilitationthat focuses on the damages caused to individuals and communities by criminal offenders.Its goal is to make offenders take responsibility for their actions. Advocates of restorative justice feel that incarceration does not teach offenders that their actions are morally wrong.Their crimes are treated as violations of state laws and not wrongs against their peers and communities. The theory of restorative justice is built upon human morality.The victim of a crime plays a central role in the reconciliation of the offense which is usually accomplished through restorative dialogue and reparations. The process of restorative dialogue serves two purposes. First, the victims are given a chance to confront the offender and bring closure to the incident. Second, the offenders are brought face to face with the victims of their crimes and forced to see the effects of their actions. Criminal hearings are usually impersonal and bureaucratic. They create an adversarial relationship between the offender and the court system. The offender is focused on his legal situation and how to reduce the penalties for his actions.The system [of incarceration] does not help the offender to realize the human costs of his actions. The process of restorative dialogue forces the offender to sit face to face with his victim and personalizes his crime (Duzr and Wertheimer 2002).After restorative dialogue offenders can begin to be reintegrated into society. http://www.palmbeachstate.edu...


Reintegration lowers recidivism rates.

Rosansky 2 states:

Reintegration is anessential part of restorative justice.Once the victim has gotten closure and the offender has taken responsibility for his actions, the offender can begin to become a normal member of society. The current corrections system stigmatizes offenders. It labels them as criminals who deserve to be punished and casts them out from normal society. Albert A. Duzr and Alan Wertheimer wrote, “Stigmatization is ultimately counterproductive because outcasts tend to reject their rejecters” (2002: 8). Reintegration is a process in which an offender’s community expresses their disapproval of the offender’s actions but agrees to accept the offender back into their society. In this way the offender isnot cast out butassimilated into his community. Ideallythis would reduce the recidivism rate of offenders by reintegrating them into societyinstead of ostracizing them as criminals (Duzr and Wertheimer 2002).

My second argument is that rehabilitation will lower prison overcrowding.

Only since 1970 has our country put its focus on incarceration and retribution. Prior to that, rehabilitation was a primary goal. There are many statistics that show just how dramatically things have changed for the worse since then in the prison population:

Overcrowded prisons lead to terrible living conditions.

Haney writes:

Among other things, these changes in the nature of imprisonment have included a series of inter-related, negative trends in American corrections. Perhaps the most dramatic changes have come about as a result of the unprecedented increases in rate of incarceration, the size of the U.S. prison population, and the widespread overcrowding that has occurred as a result. Over the past 25 years, penologists repeatedly have described U.S. prisons as "in crisis" and have characterized each new level of overcrowding as "unprecedented." By the start of the 1990s, the United States incarcerated more persons per capita than any other nation in the modern world, and it has retained that dubious distinction for nearly every year since. The international disparities are most striking when the U.S. incarceration rate is contrasted to those of other nations to whom the United States is often compared, such as Japan, Netherlands, Australia, and the United Kingdom. In the 1990s, as Marc Mauer and the Sentencing Project have effectively documented — the U.S. rates have consistently been between four and eight times those for these other nations.(3) The combination of overcrowding and the rapid expansion of prison systems across the country adversely affected living conditions in many prisons, jeopardized prisoner safety, compromised prison management, and greatly limited prisoner access to meaningful programming.The two largest prison systems in the nation — California and Texas — provide instructive examples. Over the last 30 years, California's prisoner population increased eightfold (from roughly 20,000 in the early 1970s to its current population of approximately 160,000 prisoners). Yetthere has been noremotely comparable increase in funds for prisoner services or inmate programming.In Texas, over just the years between 1992 and 1997, the prisoner population more than doubled as Texas achieved one of the highest incarceration rates in the nation. Nearly 70,000 additional prisoners added to the state's prison rolls in that brief five-year period alone. Not surprisingly, California and Texas were among the states to face major lawsuits in the 1990s over substandard, unconstitutional conditions of confinement. Federal courts in both states found that the prison systems had failed to provide adequate treatment services for those prisoners who suffered the most extreme psychological effects of confinement in deteriorated and overcrowded conditions.(4)

http://aspe.hhs.gov...

Retribution causes thousands of people pain every year. This pain could be solved simply by Choosing to rehabilitate instead of incarcerate. There is much evidence presented in this case to prove my point, so if you believe that all of the pain that criminals go through is unecessary and execive, I urge you to vote pro.

Thank you and good luck to my opponent.

Daimvad

Con

Daimvad forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
violetviolin

Pro

In this round, I would simply like to extend all of the points I had made previously, as my opponent has not responded to any of them.
Thank you for the debate and I look forward to hearing your arguments next round!
Daimvad

Con

Daimvad forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
violetviolin

Pro

violetviolin forfeited this round.
Daimvad

Con

Daimvad forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by violetviolin 3 years ago
violetviolin
Good luck to my opponent, and any cross examination questions may now be posted.
Posted by violetviolin 3 years ago
violetviolin
As am I!
Posted by Daimvad 3 years ago
Daimvad
I think I got the answer to my first question when you actually answered the second question! Thank you! Looking forward to your Round 2 argument.
Posted by violetviolin 3 years ago
violetviolin
Responding to your questions:
1) Is this just a normative debate? Or are we also arguing the pragmatics of the two systems in place, with respect to the criminal justice system?
-could you clarify what is meant by normative?

2) When you say "ought be valued more" you mean it ought be implemented more in status quo?
When the resolution says "ought to be valued above", it does not specify whether it refers to implementation, this should be decided by what arguments/philosophies you chose to run. The resolution imply states that it ought to be valued above, the debater can choose to interpret this any way they want, so long as they back up why it is correct. Generally the status quo is what the neg is defending (so in this case, retribution)

Could you clarify your first question, and tell me if I answered your second question?
Posted by Daimvad 3 years ago
Daimvad
Thank you! I'm looking forward to getting started with Round 2 :)
Posted by violetviolin 3 years ago
violetviolin
Thank you for accepting the debate. I look forward to hearing what you have to say.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Actionsspeak 3 years ago
Actionsspeak
violetviolinDaimvadTied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro obviously put effort into this, while con hardly made ana rgument and ended up forfeiting.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 3 years ago
whiteflame
violetviolinDaimvadTied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Well, that's disappointing. Seemed Pro's case was pretty solid, too bad.