Is it OK to put people into prison?
Debate Rounds (5)
1) That it is unethical to kidnap or restrain other humans.
2) And that nothing can justify a kidnapping unless the goverment is corrupt.
Because of its nature, imprisonment is no different from kidnapping, especially when the military can kill without any punishment.
Why should it be any different when it comes to prison? You could claim that assault can be rationalised because 'He did it first!' or 'God told me.' but that isn't a good rationalisation. So why should it be any different when kidnapping gets rationalised with a similar argument?
It is obvious that within the basic moral principles of biology, imprisonment is no different from murder, no different from kidnapping, no different from robbing. Murder is the kidnapping of one's soul, kidnapping is of one's body, robbing is the kidnapping of one's money. In any case rationalisations are redundant and a nuisance.
So why should the rationalisation of 'He did it first!' or 'He was bad!' be treated any different from any other rationalisation of a crime? It is obvious to me that it shouldn't.
So, firstly you argue that it is unethical to "kidnap" or "restrain" other humans. Let us begin by looking at the definition of "ethical". Generally "ethical" means to pertain or to deal with morals or principles of morality; pertaining to right and wrong in conduct.  Essentially, you are arguing that the conduct of "kidnap" and/or "restrain(ing)" humans is morally wrong. As we are both British, to define Kidnapping, I shall take the verdict from the case of R v D, in which Lord Brandon defined kindnap. He stated that "First, the nature of the offence is an attack on, and infringement of, the personal liberty of an individual. Secondly, the offence contains four ingredients as follows: the taking or carrying away of one person by another; by force or fraud; without the consent of the person so taken or carried away; and without lawful excuse." 
So therefore from that we can conclude that kidnapping humans is A) indeed an immoral offence, and B) that kidnapping is only as such, if, it is conducted without a "lawful excuse". Imprisonment is considered lawful and so, no, putting people in prison is nothing like kidnapping. That also invalidates your second argument of justified kidnap, as I have just pointed out, imprisonment is not kidnap.
Though you do argue that imprisonment is naturally like kidnapping. You could potentially say that, due to the fact the defendant has his or her personal liberty taken away. But other than that, there are no similarities between the two. Imprisonment is taking away someones' liberty in order to punish and protect the public. Kidnapping is taking away someones' liberty, unlawfully, forcefully and/or fraudulently. Do you see the difference? Kidnap is forcefully taking someone away, where as imprisonment is locking someone up in order to protect the public and as punishment for a crime committed.
But to address more of what you probably intended. You are arguing that locking people up is immoral. Why is it immoral? Locking someone up without an offence committed, yes, it would be. But to imprison someone because they have committed a crime against the state is not wrong. It would would be both a miscarriage of justice and an immoral action, to permit an offender to walk free. It would be immoral for he can freely break laws without consequence where as other law abiding citizens must unjustly suffer for his actions. How is it in any way, morally right that a murderer, who has killed someone, is allowed to walk the streets freely without punishment? And how is it morally right to allow him to potentially kill another member of society? That is what would be immoral here, failure to protect the public from harm. Not locking people in prison. Each year, at least 500 murders are committed in England and Wales, 500 people have lost their lives. Are you seriously suggesting that those who kill these people should be free to walk the streets and kill more?
Can you imagine the scale of crime should offences go unpunished? I could not... but Somalia should give you a pretty good idea which was an anarchist state until 2006. Somalia, by no means has the highest crime rate in the world, but there is a reason why, on the Failed State Index, that Somalia is ranked 1st, as the most "failed" state in the world.  You are not specifically suggesting anarchy, but I do genuinely ask, what do we do with people if offenders are not sent to prison? You may argue that "Rehabilitation" is a good idea. Yes it is, but rehabilitation STILL involves the convicted to go to prison, what are rehab centres? But merely prisons except said prisons work on rehabilitating the offender back into society as a reformed, contributing member of society. A prison is not automatically a building in which the offender simply sits in a cell for punishment.
So if both prisons for punishment and prisons for rehabilitation are not "okay". Then what do you suggest? I said you did not specifically state that anarchy is the best solution, but you are indirectly stating that. If laws cannot be enforced by punishing the guilty, than they are completely ineffective. There would be no point in having a justice system at all. There is no other solution than to put those who have committed offences into prison.
But to address your other arguments that imprisonment is the same as murder, I have no idea on how you came to that conclusion. Imprisonment is, as we both know, taking away someone's liberty and effectively locking them away in a building/institution. Murder, in England and Wales is defined as (in modern English) the unlawful killing of a reasonable person under the Queen's peace with Malice Aforethought express or implied.  Or in layman's terms, the unlawful killing, in a time of peace (which also covers the military, no they cannot kill without punishment, only in war and only when authorised to do so, and obeying the laws of war), with the intention to kill expressly, or intention to cause serious harm but the victim dies anyway. That is the definition of murder. How is imprisonment, in any way, the same as murder? It is not and that is fact.
You seem to argue that for an action, there should be no consequence no matter what said action is. By your logic, murderers, rapists, child sex offenders, terrorists, burglars, robbers etc. should all be free. How is this morally right for the victims of those who suffer by their hands? How is it morally right that they can harm and kill others without consequence? For every action there is consequence, and if you commit a crime against the state, it is both justified and morally right, that you should be punished and that imprisonment will protect the innocent from you.
I could put a gun to your head right now and say I have a lawful excuse for it. Yet I'll still be punished. Why should it be the same with kidnapping? Just because you word them differently and just because imprisonment isn't as broad of a term, doesn't mean imprisonment is justified.
We can easily find ways around this. Perhaps terraform Mars and stop the evil from getting there, making Mars like our heaven. Or we could somehow justify the death penalty, which would be worse. The point I'm making is that, if there is a flock of geese and one pecks another, the other geese won't imprison that goose. Why isn't it the same for humanity?
Your argument that pointing a gun at me and saying this is lawful and then still being punished is flawed. Imprisonment is obviously not illegal. However pointing a gun at me is, under English law that would be Assault (assuming you did not shoot me or anything). You have broken a law covered by the Criminal Justice Act 1988 and hence your conduct would be unlawful . The conduct of imprisonment does not break any law, and so therefore is not unlawful. And that is all it comes down to regarding imprisonment, assault and kidnapping. Statute and common law states that the two latter are illegal, where as the former is not. It has been considered that it is undesirably for people to cause victims to apprehend immediate unlawful violence (assault)  and for people to kidnap others unlawfully, and it has been considered justified to imprison people who break the law in order to protect the innocent and punish the guilty.
Your last paragraph provides no solution. It sounds as if you are suggesting we (the law abiding citizens of Earth) should leave for Mars (which is terraformed into 'Heaven') while leaving all of those who have committed crimes on Earth. This is impossible and unfair to the innocent who should not be forced to leave their planet due to the immoral and illegal actions of others.
And no, you are right. Animals do not have prisons, but animals DO still have a hierarchy, the 'pecking order' as some call it, and acting outside the boundaries of the 'rules' can render said animal evicted from a group or family. Meerkats are one such group of animals with a strict hierarchy and breaking the 'rules' e.g. a subordinate family member having pups, can result in eviction of said subordinate and the dominant female has the right to even kill the pups.  Most animals which live in groups have such hierarchies.
Considering the efficiency of animals to conquer the Earth compared to us, I think a pecking order would be a better idea even if unethical. Atleast death doesn't induce as much suffering, and with future technology we could simply deactivate and restore criminals as we want to, and machines could even almost instantaneously restore the human's brain to an unbiased system! There are infinitely many alternatives to imprisonment and not all of them are relatively unethical!
We would not have to send the innocent beings to Mars if we consider a different alternative. Just because my alternatives are bad doesn't disprove my argument that imprisonment should be treated no differently from a kidnapping.
Your argument is flawed to the point that I didn't even need to argue back. But that's how synchronous debating goes.
Anyway to the point. As you have stated, you are unhappy with the legal argument as to imprisonment and kidnapping are different, and now you want justification as to why it SHOULD be lawful (not why is it lawful? Which you previously asked). However, it seems you ignored Round 1. I stated why it should be law mentioning protecting the public and as punishment. However I recognise perhaps that was not detailed enough.
Some of the main reasons and justification for imprisonment include:
Someone has committed a crime, and therefore there should be a punished as the majority of the public expects. If you commit a wrongful act and go unpunished, what does this teach you? That you can commit an act without consequence. Therefore someone loses their freedom and are removed from society as a punishment because they have committed a crime against that free society.
Prison is obviously not a pleasant experience. This ties on with the punishment factor above. People will not commit crimes due to the fact that they do not wish to face prison.
3) Protection of the public:
It is essential that the innocents of a society are protected from the likes of murder and violent crime. Prison is even more important in such societies where the murder and violent crime rate are abnormally high. If such convicts were allowed to be free, than they would be a very significant risk to the population. And seeing as none of your suggested solutions are not yet (or possibly ever) possible, what other solution is there?
Although punishment prisons do not always achieve this, the idea is that a person is "rehabilitated" back into normal law abiding society. Indeed, in rehabilitation centres (which as I have said are pretty much still prisons), there is a very large focus on rehabilitation rather than punishment, and this has produced good results.
5) No other choice
This ties in with point 3. All of the solutions you provide are not yet possible. What other solution do we have? 
Now, to address more of your "alternatives" to prison. Firstly you suggest that a "pecking order" would be a batter system to prisons. This is impractical, humanity (unlike animals) is very much a united species. How could you evict a human? And what punishments are you suggesting here as well? That people guilty of crimes should be physically assaulted as often in the animal kingdom? That their babies should be killed? Or they themselves should be killed, basically bringing back the death penalty worldwide? All of this, for most people, would be regarded as far less ethical than prison which is, the whole basis of your argument, that putting people into prison is not okay because it is unethical. And then of course a "pecking order" would still not work as people are still "free" unless killed, therefore still have the liberty to commit further offences.
And then of course addressing the death penalty, this is clearly less ethical than imprisonment. What if the execution turns out to be a miscarriage of justice? Derek Bentley faced the death penalty for the "murder" of the police officer back in 1953. It was not until 1998, that the Court of Appeal finally quashed his conviction meaning he was killed for no reason at all. This is far worse than merely having your liberty taken away, an innocent man was killed. 
It has been suggested by numerous studies, that the death penalty has little to no effect and that it is actually more costly to execute prisoners.  Further evidence supports this when, the United States has a higher homicide rate than most western European nations despite having the death penalty. For example, the US's homicide rate is 4.8, compare this to the UK which has 1.2, France which has 1.1, Spain which has 0.8 and Belgium, which has 1.7.  Personally I cannot see how you can possibly argue that the death penalty is ethical, and more so than imprisonment..
And as for your other "alternatives". We live in the 21st century where none of that is possible and chances are, many will NEVER be possible. If there are "infinitely many alternatives to imprisonment", why have you failed to give me a single reasonable alternative?
I did not ignore round one. I just rebutted it in round two anyway.
1) I never said that there should be no punishment.
You obviously ignored various suggestions I have debated in this debate which could be more ethical. You are arguing for crimes to be punished, and you're labelling that as supporting imprisonment. What about the death penalty? Sending the evil to Mars instead?
2) Yes it is and so is the death penalty, fines, slaps, whacks, and all punishments more ethical or less.
You are missing out important parts here. Your argument here does not help your side of the debate. Prison can be deterring and unethical at the same time.
3) So what?
Again, protection from society barely counts for the ethnicity of the actions dealt to the criminal.
4) Rehab is different because it is more ethical.
You have given a suitable alternative to actual imprisonment. It might be close but it is more ethical. Thus you just said that imprisonment is not the best punishment. Let's switch to the best punishment or rehabilitation!
5) I answered that previously.
How can you claim that rehab is more ethical than imprisonment then say that there are no alternatives! You've lead yourself to a contradiction here. I know you wanted to avoid a contradiction by your tone of voice but you just hide it instead.
If I came into your home at night, dragged you away by force and threw you into a cellar and kept you there for six months for no reason at all other than to satisfy my sick desires, that is kidnap. If, on the other hand, I was a police officer, and you had committed a crime. I then came into your house with a warrant, lawfully arrested you, and then you were put on trial and found guilty, and then I escorted you to prison, that is imprisonment.
Comparing imprisonment to Kidnapping and saying that they are the same is about as accurate as saying that Murder and killing a soldier lawfully in war are the same thing. They are clearly not the same thing, one is an act of evil, and the other is killing in order to defend your country. In fact, the definition of Murder even covers this, with the "under the Queen's peace" meaning that unless there is a war going on, you cannot kill someone without it being Murder. But enough about the differences between Imprisonment and Kidnapping, I have covered it enough throughout the entirety of this debate.
To address your arguments:
You have not suggested a punishment until your last argument, you suggested alternatives yes, but none of which seem to punish the convicts. Turning their brains off? Sending them to Mars? Where is the punishments for their actions? Would prisoners be allowed to freely live on Mars without any sort of restriction? To say that I have ignored your suggestions is wrong. I have addressed all of your proposals, be it send them to Mars, or establish an animal style 'pecking order', and I have stated the faults of every single one and explained why each would not work. The Death Penalty I have covered, and that is LESS ethical than imprisonment no question, you are ending someone's life. That person has literally been wiped from existence, there is nothing morally right about this.
No, there is no credible evidence to suggest that the death penalty is an active deterrence. It is more costly than prison, less ethical than prison, and not truly effective. Murders in Texas for instance continue to be higher than those in Colorado, and Texas executes dozens of inmates each year where as Colorado's death penalty is virtually non-existent.  As I say, I simply cannot understand why you think the death penalty is more ethical than imprisonment, if an innocent man is convicted and given life in prison, he loses his liberty. If an innocent man is handed the death penalty... he loses his life and there is no way he can ever get that back. He is gone from the world, forever. And that my friend, is by far, the greatest injustice someone can suffer in the justice system.
3) Public Protection
So What? So what?! Did you just ask that? Is protecting the public really that unimportant to you? Protecting the public is FAR more important than how the prisoner is treated, and to even suggest that the prisoner should have rights over the public is ridiculous, unjust, unethical and completely wrong.
I have covered this. In reality a rehabilitation still means that the convict loses his liberty and is confined to a single area, be it a building or several buildings. He or she is no more free than a prisoner. And even so, if this is the better solution, why does that invalidate imprisonment? Just because one solution is better than the other does not mean every other solution is wrong. Prisons still do all of what I have mentioned (punish, deter crime and protect the public), how does this make prisons wrong? At the very least, prisons still keep dangerous individuals off the street and punish convicts for their crimes.
5) I said rehab is more ethical than than imprisonment for punishment, but as I have said, rehab is still a prison. even though Rehab tends to be more successful, both PRISON systems work to a certain degree, otherwise we would be sky high full of criminals. From March 2011 to 2012, 12 months later (March 2012) the total re-offending rate for all offenders was 26.5%.  This means that overall, prison WORKED for 73.5% of all offenders that were imprisoned. Prison WORKS and this proves it. How can it not be ok if the majority of prisoners do not re-offend? And as point 5 originally points out, there is NO alternative, rehab is still prison... and other than having your liberty stripped for either punishment or proper rehabilitation (which both involve losing your liberty and confinement to an area), there is no other choice that we have, other than imprisonment. Every solution you have suggested require technology which is far beyond what it currently is.
rdococ forfeited this round.
I have clearly defined and showed that kidnapping and imprisonment are not the same, legally or in laymans terms. Any lawyer and most people would even agree with this statement. Apart from the fact that the kidnapped person and the prisoner lose their liberty, there are no similarities. Therefore this invalidates Con's second argument in Round 1 which claims that only a corrupt government kidnaps, yes it does, but kidnapping is in no way the same as imprisonment and so therefore such an argument has no place in this debate.
I have identified that imprisonment is not really wrong or unethical at all, and that most people would actually see prisoners go without punishment as a greater injustice and that to truly be, morally wrong. There is no greater injustice than the wrongdoers going unpunished.
I have identified many reasons why imprisonment, is a good thing and why it is "ok". Those cover protection of the public, punishment, rehabilitation, deterrence and that there is no real alternative. Con ultimately failed to suggest that these were poor reasons to justify imprisonment, resorting once again to futuristic, implausible ideas that will probably never happen (which he/she first suggested in an earlier round). He or she seemed to disregard entirely that imprisonment exists to protect the public from criminals retorting with "So what?" as his/her opening argument against that particular reason. His/her reasoning strongly implied that prisoners should have rights over the innocent. This is of course a massive injustice and morally wrong, the guilty should not have rights over the innocent, this is basic human morality.
I identified that Rehabilitation (previously an argument I USED) is still imprisonment in reality, and is one of the aims for prisons which punish regardless. And followed up by saying rehab does not invalidate punishment prisons, prisons still aim and usually achieve the five reasons/justifications/aims of prisons that I first pointed out in Round 3. Remember voters, the question is not "Is it unethical to put people in prison?" (which I would still argue it is not), but whether "Is it OK to put people into prison?" AND because of those five simple reasons, I would argue that it is. Those five arguments alone justify imprisonment. I NEVER had to prove that imprisonment is ethical, merely that it is a "ok", that it is an "ok" thing to do. Con's argument were that it is not "ok" due to its unethical nature. I have proven that they are "ok" due to those five reasons, I have also pointed out prisons are not unethical, and that imprisonment is not unlawful kidnapping.
Con failed throughout the entire debate to provide a realistic alternative to imprisonment also, and to be honest, that alone could arguably be used to say that imprisonment is "ok". The fact is, Mars is simply not a solution, nor is it to switch off peoples brains. We live in the 21st century, not the 51st.
Thank you for the debate rdococ.
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