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The Contender
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In the United States, misdemeanor jail time ought to be replaced with significant rehabilitation

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/2/2009 Category: Entertainment
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,111 times Debate No: 7196
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (1)




To my esteemed BNesiba,
Hello and good luck. I would like to thank my judges, specifically Burningpuppies101 and LakevilleNorthJT. I hope this to be a good debate and wish my opponent the best of luck. With that, I shall begin.
Because this is a value debate, I shall begin by stating the value and criteria that I believe this debate should be weighed upon. The value of this debate should be an individual's right to success. And the criteria should be an individual's quality of life. This means that as adjudicators, you should vote for the debater who best supports the idea of an individual's quality of life (QoL) through their right to success. My value and criteria are both fair and unbiased because they grant ample ground to both my opponent and myself, while being beneath the intent of the resolution. Now I will state my case.
Misdemeanor jail time typically ranges anywhere from thirty days to nine months. There are some severe exceptions, but for the sake of debate we should limit ourselves to what typically occurs. When charged and found guilty of a misdemeanor, there are some other penalties that go along with just jail time, some of which can have very devastating effects on a person's life including the inability to obtain certain jobs, qualify for bonding, or receive governmental aid such as school loans. These other penalties are much worse than the jailtime served. Often times a person recieves a misdemeanor charge when they are relatively young. In fact, according to the national criminal justice reference service, more than fifty percent of all misdemeanor charges are for people under the age of thirty. This means that as people age, they begin to decrease the number of misdemeanors they commit. This can mean one of two things.
1. They begin to commit felonies. If this is true, then we can see that the current system of putting them in jail isn't working. If they begin to commit felonies, then they haven't been rehabilitated from their stint in jail, but have been hardened past the point of misdemeanor. So in this case, it actually makes these people worse. Rehabilitiation wouldn't cause this. If they were to be rehabilitated, they would be significantly less likely to commit misdemeanors, and virtually completely unlikely to commit felonies. They would have been reformed into succesful members of the community, and therefore would have a much better quality of life.
2. They mature and no longer commit wrongdoings. If this is the case, then it doesn't matter what their punishment is, they will just grow out of it later on in life. As the old cliche goes...boys will be boys. But putting them in jail for this misdemeanor doesn't help them mature. If they stop committing these acts when they mature...why not help them mature? As a child, I didn't know the stove was hot until I was told the stove was hot or I touched the stove. It took a life lesson to teach me the stove was hot. The entire purpose of rehabilitation is to teach them the life lesson "committing misdemeanors is wrong." Often times young people are just doing it to have some fun. I'm sure most of us have egged a car, or tp'd someones yard. In fact, that's what most misdemeanor charges are...destruction of property. Not only is jail time a pretty harsh punishment for egging someones car, it doesn't work. Rehabilitation is the only way to actually ensure their stopping. Once again, rehabilitation helps them mature faster, which means they will become succesful members of their community faster, and therefore increases their quality of life sooner.
For those reasons, I urge the judges to vote for the proposition, or The_Devils_Advocate. Thank you very much, and I hope you enjoy this debate as much as I will.


I too would like to thank our judges, and the aff, the devils advocate (who isn't upholding said position) for this round.

To save space, b/c means because.

I will open with definitions and Resolutional analysis:
Ought- indicative of moral obligation
Replaced – used in the place of.
Significant – a large amount; when used in comparison, synonymous with "more"
B/c we are replacing jail time with "significant" rehabilitation, looking at the definition, we see that we are replacing jail time with more rehabilitation than there would have been jail time.

B/c the resolution uses the word "ought", it is the burden of the affirmative to show that there is a MORAL obligation to replace the jail time. If the affirmative fails to uphold this burden, there can be no affirmative ballot.

Value: Justice
A.Definition: To each their due. (Aristotle)

B. Best: B/c we are talking about how we ought to punish someone, it only makes sense that we first find out what they are due.

C.Not applicable on Aff
I will show through my case how the criminals get their due on the neg, but you will see that is impossible for the aff to achieve this value, b/c affirming violates my criterion.

Criterion: laws for utilitarian punishment

A.Definition: Bentham's laws state that to decide a punishment, we ought to see if the punishment upholds utility. The laws hold that punishment is moral only if is does not have any of the following traits: (Mischief is an action's tendency to increase pain or decrease happiness)

1.The punishment is ‘groundless'
Where there is no mischief for it to prevent; the act not being mischievous upon the whole.

2.The punishment is ‘inefficacious'
Where it cannot act to prevent the mischief

3.the punishment is ‘unprofitable'
where the mischief it would produce would be greater than what it prevented

4.the punishment is ‘needless'
Where the mischief may be prevented, or cease of itself without it at a cheaper rate.

B.util is the supreme moral decider
All frameworks end with utilitarianism. All frameworks need utilitarianism to even know what is good. B/c all moral frameworks rely on utilitarianism, in the end, we must look to utilitarianism to truly judge morals.

Also, utilitarianism is the reason we see good things as good.
Why do we want security? To decrease chances of pain
Why do we want our rights protected? To decrease chance of pain and to increase happiness
Why do we want liberty? B/c being able to choose our actions makes us happy. (and decreases pain, since w/o it pain would ensue)
Why don't we want to go to hell? B/c it is the epitome of pain.

I.) Affirming violates utility
A.Punishment by "rehabilitation" is inefficacious
Punishing people by rehabilitating them does not prevent the crimes. It simply tries to prevent repeat offences. B/c rehabilitation is less "scary" than jail time, it would deter less criminals and therefore NOT prevent the "mischief" that it is intended to.

B.The punishment is unprofitable
While the aff may provide evidence that "rehabilitated" criminals commit fewer crimes, you will see that people are also less afraid of "rehabilitation" than jail. B/c of this, it would actually make criminals more likely to commit crimes for a first time, driving the crime rate, and therefore the pain created up.

Furthermore, punishing people with rehabilitation would cost more money (look to definitions, rehab is more time than jail) and would, only in some cases work. B/c it would cost significantly more money (have to hire people to run it, more security would be needed, etc) you would increase the pain of the INNOCENT populous. You would take these people, many of who already have little money, and take more of it. (even if it didn't truly effect much, the fear of loss of property is a pain)

C.the punishment is needless
Jail time works. I know that without this punishment, many many people would commit crimes. B/c people are afraid of jail, they are deterred from committing crimes. By preventing this, nearly infinite amount of "mischief" at a must lower cost in pain(it prevents more for less) you see that the switch in punishment is needless.

D.The punishment (rehab) is Immoral
B/c punishment by rehab is inefficacious, unprofitable and needless you see that it is very clearly immoral. As long as a single one of these reasons stands at the end of the round, it is deemed immoral, and you must negate. Finally, b/c it is found to be immoral, we have a moral obligation NOT to affirm.
Aff case:
Value: right to success

The aff fails to define their value, and this should be reason enough to look to mine

2.)success in what?
One can succeed in many things, not all of them good. For example, Hitler, for a large part, nearly succeeded in his genocide of people of Jewish decent. THIS WAS NOT GOOD.

3.)Success in not inherently good
As you see in my second point, success can be a very terrible thing, and therefore is NOT a viable value for this round.

4.)Justice is good.
B/c each person ought to get what they deserve, and b/c no one would (or can) contest this, justice is inherently good.

Criterion: individual QOL
1.)This is not a moral framework
"QOL" or "an individual's QOL" is not a framework b/c:
A moral framework MUST:
1.)be consistent
2.)tell us what we ought and ought not to do
3.)Tell us right from wrong.

Qol does not uphold any of these points.
A.Consistent: What could be an increase in qol could be a decrease in qol of another. It is subjective to each person's taste.
B.Does not tell us what to do: It tells us to "increase qol" (actually, "maximimization of qol" would, but I'm going to assume that's what the aff meant) without specifying how do to so. B/c we do not know what to do, we cannot act.
C.Does not discern right from wrong: it does not condemn or promote any actions specifically. I'm sure the aff would say that it condemns stuff that decreases QOL though, so…

All this tells us is that qol is important, if an ethic is to make prescriptions, then we have to have a good idea of what we are supposed to be promoting and avoiding.
Also, It does not discern between different kinds of qol, and therefore, does not tell us right from wrong.

the aff criterion is not a moral framework, looking to my RA, it does not provide moral obligation, and therefore you, as judges, CANNOT AFFIRM.

2.)criterion undefined.
The aff does not specify what QOL even means. B/c of this, it IMPOSSIBLE to judge the round with this criteria, you must look to my, well defined and non-subjective criterion.

1.)When misdemeanors stop, they commit felonies.
Look to the numbers... there is a SIGNIFICANT difference between the number of felonies and misdemeanors committed every year. B/c of this, we can clearly see that they do not, in fact commit felonies.

2.)they stop committing crimes
It still matters. B/c switching to "rehab" punishment increases pain, and violates the laws of utilitarian punishment, you see that we are clearly better off in the status quo.

Status quo does. When your parents tell you "don't do that, it's bad" does this automatically mean you no longer EVER do that? NO. by removing the scary punishment (the burn from the stove) you find out that criminals never truly learn.If every time you were about to touch the stove, your parents grabbed your hand and told you it was hot, you would become curious and keep trying. b/c neg deters and aff increases pain, I urge you to vote NEG.
Debate Round No. 1


To my esteemed Bnesiba,
Thank you very much for this debate so far, hopefully it continues in a similar manner.
As far as your definitions go, I have a couple problems. The first of which is your inconsistency. You say that significant is synonymous, therefore should be defined the same as its synonym. If that is the case, then why aren't all definitions synonyms? If that is how you want it, then ought is synonymous with should. Should does not imply a moral ought, therefore I don't have to show the moral obligation. But I don't believe that it is enough to simply give a synonym in order to define a word. I actually like to define it. And your actual definition works quite well...a large amount. So as the resolution stands, I as the affirmative must prove the moral obligation of replacing misdemeanor jail time with a large amount of rehabilitation. I do not have to replace it with more, because synonyms are not definitions. They are simply synonyms.

My first argument here is on his value/criterion. At the point where he says "I will show through my case how the criminals get their due on the neg, but you will see that is impossible for the aff to achieve this value, b/c affirming violates my criterion" he should not be able to win his value or criterion. Among debaters there is this thing called ground. The resolution provides specific ground for both the affirmative and the negative. In this case it is significant rehabilitation for the affirmative, and misdemeanor jail time for the negative. If as the aff I were to give my criterion as significant rehabilitation, there would be significant abuse, because I am saying that you have no chance at winning. By saying that by simply affirming the resolution I can't win...there is significant abuse. When you look to my value criterion you will see that it allows for both sides to equally access the win. If you give my opponent his criterion, then there is no way of winning, and therefore no reason to debate. The reason you don't give my partner his criterion, is because mine is better. We should find out what they are due, but that isn't a good enough value. Not only should we find out what they are due, but we should find out how it affects them after their punishment as well. In a sense, finding out what their specific punishment is, but also to find out what the future repercussions are. The reason you should accept my value over Bnesiba's is because mine allots for the future repercussions as well as the inherent punishment. He argues that one can succeed in many things not all of them good. But success for an individual is inherent in this country's founding. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness guarantee each American citizen the right to success. And forgive me for not defining success...I thought you were intelligent enough to understand what success means. Because language itself defines words when used in context. Therefore, the best value and criterion for this round are an individual's right to success and QoL.
1.) This "significant difference" between the numbers, isn't all that significant. In fact, according to the justice bureaus website, there were 24,219 misdemeanors last year, and 17,353 felonies last year. Which isn't really all that much of a difference. Not only that, but the number of felonies versus misdemeanors doesn't prove that they don't commit felonies. Your analysis on this point is lacking severely. You can't just make a claim and expect it to stand. Please use at least some logic OR analysis. You use neither one.
2.) You say it increases pain, but never prove how. All you say is that it is less scary and therefore wouldn't make them stop. But you ignore the analysis I provided showing you how it helps them mature faster. This argument shows us that when we mature, we stop committing acts against the community. Which therefore defeats your argument completely. Even if we were debating on a util. basis, I gain access through the stopping of misdemeanors and felonies. So once again, please provide some sort of argumentation.

You say that the status quo solves, but this is untrue. I never touched the stove. Not every child touched the stove. That's the entire premise that your argument relies on. That we never learn until we do and are punished. I've never killed someone. Does that mean I'll only learn not to until I do and am punished for it? Of course not. This argument is flawed in every sense. We learn by being told not to do it, and sometimes by getting punished for something we do. But teaching a life lesson is often just as effective if not more so than being punished.

When you look to the resolution specifically, the negative burden is to show how misdemeanor jail time ought not to be replaced with significant rehabilitation. At the point where he has only tried...and mitigating my points, he loses this round. When he doesn't uphold the burden placed upon him by the resolution, and I at least try, you will always vote for me. Even if he somehow successfully mitigates every single one of my points, he still doesn't win the round because he hasn't tried to prove his own burden. He never presents his own side showing how misdemeanor jail time is better than significant rehabilitation. At that point I, The_Devils_Advocate, win this debate round. Thank you very much and good luck.


I'm going to begin by defining more words:
Synonym: two words that can be interchanged in a context. (Princeton Wordnet)

I am not being inconsistent. First, a synonym is a word that can be exchanged in context. This means that they literally have the same definition. If significant is synonymous to more in comparisons, then it could be exchanged for more. B/c of this, you MUST hold the aff to this standard.

On the defn of ‘ought' and should. Yes, they are synonyms. According to
Should- must; ought (used to indicate duty, propriety, or expediency)
I need to define another word as well:
Propriety- correct or appropriate behavior. [Moral behavior]

Should & ought ARE the same thing, both indicate moral duty. I am not inconsistent. Also, look to how defines should, with the word must, & ought. CLEARLY synonyms DO function as definitions. if you look to the definition of synonym, you will clearly see that all of my definitions stand as they were.

RA: look to the top of my previous "speech". My actual RA was not argued. Therefore you MUST hold the aff to this standard of morality. If the aff does not show moral duty you cannot affirm

Sorry if this comes across harshly, but it seems that the aff may be new to LD & fresh from policy.

2.) Theory
In LD, the idea of the value is that you provide a standard that you uphold in your case that the other side cannot. You debate values b/c you show that upholding yours is better than your opponent upholding theirs. Also, proving you can uphold theirs & yours or that they cannot uphold theirs fall into this category as well. However at the point where your opponent says that your value is inferior B/C they cannot achieve it, you MUST realize that this person is simply new to LD. All I meant to say by that point was that, Justice, defined as I defined it, Cannot be upheld on the aff.

Your value SHOULDN'T provide opposing ground. NO abuse here, just confusion on how LD works.

3.)More against abuse
"In this case it is significant rehabilitation for the aff, and misdemeanor jail time for the negative. If as the aff I were to give my criterion as significant rehabilitation, there would be significant abuse, b/c I am saying that you have no chance at winning"

No abuse. If this was your criterion, you would still have to prove that it was superior to mine. Value & Criterion are not automatically accepted just b/c I put them out there. If they were, there would be no reason for both of us to provide values & criteria. Again, this is simply a lack of LD experience.

4.) Aff admits neg superior
Look to the reason the aff states that his value is better: "b/c it can be upheld on both sides" The aff freely admits that I can achieve his value. B/c of this, & b/c the fact that I do not achieve my value has not been argued, you clearly see that, even if you do not reject the opposing value, that the neg side is superior b/c I uphold BOTH Justice & Success.

5.)value still sketchy
"Success for an individual is inherent in this country's founding. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness guarantee each American citizen the right to success. And forgive me for not defining success...I thought you were intelligent enough to understand what success means."

Aside from the obvious Ad-Hom attack here, all we know now is that when good people succeed at good things, good things happen.... duh?
My point is that BAD people (like Hitler) can succeed at BAD things (like the Holocaust) & bad things result. This value clearly can produce negative outcomes, where mine cannot. B/c of this, you must look to My value of Justice.

6.)Other value stuff
"The reason you should accept my value over Bnesiba's is b/c mine allots for the future repercussions as well as the inherent punishment"
How? All the aff states here are warrant-less claims. He states that somehow "success" allows for future repercussions... judges, you cannot accept this claim, he provides no analysis to back this up & no warrant. Without analysis, you have NO REASON to believe this, & must disregard it.

"We should find out what they are due, but that isn't a good enough value. Not only should we find out what they are due, but we should find out how it affects them after their punishment as well."
The aff agrees that my value is good. Please pull this to the neg.
he fails to show how the value of success achieves this... no analysis, no warrant. Please disregard this argument as well.
Also, success does not give each person their due, so even if it does somehow look to how it affects them afterwards, b/c he cannot tell what they are due through his value, he tells us to disregard his value as well. B/c of this, you MUST look to justice as I define it, to judge the round.

7.)Justice superior
Cross-apply my argument #4 under the value debate from above. This still stands & must be looked to for the round.

8.)Abuse... again
Apply all of my arguments under 2 & 3 as well as the following:
A criterion is supposed to provide a framework for morality. If you're morality allowed both sides to be moral, there would be absolutely
no way to debate morality through them. A moral framework MUST be exclusive (apply my Criterion Theory arguments under my criterion in the previous "speech")
I am also not abusive b/c of the value/criterion debate itself. B/c we must debate which is better, it is clear that if I prove that my framework for morality is indeed better, it does not matter if you can achieve it. In fact, looking to my previous arguments, YOU SHOULDN'T BE ABLE TO ACHIEVE IT. If you can, I'm doing something wrong.

9.)the aff admits Neg superior
Like under the value debate, the aff confusedly argues that his criterion is better B/C I can achieve it. B/c of this, even if you do not throw it out, apply the affs arguments as well, showing that I can achieve both, while the aff can only achieve a value through his.

10.)Criterion Theory
Cross Apply my theory about moral frameworks from above.
The aff's criterion still does not achieve any of these points & therefore is not a moral framework. (Most importantly, the aff argues that both sides can uphold it, this means that, as a moral framework it fails b/c it cannot judge which side is moral.
B/c the aff criterion is not a moral framework, affirming is virtually impossible due to my Resolutional analysis. (must provide a moral duty, without moral framework this is impossible)

The aff has yet to tell us what comprises quality of life. Is it happiness? Is it wealth? Is it women? Is it food? Is it getting what you want? What is it?
The aff still hasn't defined his criterion, the only possible way to judge the round is to look to my criterion.

MY Contention 1) Affirming violates utility
Please pull my contention 1 across as it was not argued. The change in punishment violates my criterion & is therefore, through my case wrong. I have shown how we have a moral duty to negate.

12.)Felonies & misdemeanors.
The aff has provided false information. According to the US Dept. of Justice In 2006, there were: 968,408 Misdemeanors & 534,460 Felonies in CALIFORNIA ALONE.(
About 50% as many felonies. This is both people who have committed misdemeanors, as well as people who just committed a felony. There is no evidence that people go from misdemeanors to felonies. Also, b/c the aff has provided no analysis as to why this would happen; this point is moot.

Aff causes pain. It costs money, and increases the crime rate. (see my previous "speech")

B/c my case stands, b/c you are looking to my value & criterion, & b/c the aff has not provided any evidence of a moral duty to affirm, where I have shown a duty to negate, you MUST negate.
Thank you
Debate Round No. 2


The_Devils_Advocate forfeited this round.


Because my opponent forfeited his "speeh" all of my points are left untouched. All of my points flow con.

at the end of my last "speech" only my case stood, you MUST vote con for all the reasons i gave above.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Bnesiba 9 years ago
good round.

how does voting work? how do burningpuppies and lakevillenorth know when to vote?
Posted by The_Devils_Advocate 9 years ago
My apologies for missing the round. I am on spring break and have limited access to a computer. But it was a good round. nice job Bnesiba.
Posted by The_Devils_Advocate 9 years ago
I would argue right now, but i'm quite intoxicated. sorry.
Posted by Bnesiba 9 years ago
sorry about the shorthand/abbreviations in my last post. for some reason it wouldn't let me use all 8000 characters...
Posted by Bnesiba 9 years ago
still writing case.. can't decide between 2 criteria...

i'll post as soon as i'm done.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Bnesiba 9 years ago
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