The Instigator
eosh89
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
felicemnatalem69
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points

Is the prison system fair?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/2/2012 Category: Society
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,660 times Debate No: 21673
Debate Rounds (5)
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eosh89

Con

The prison system has been designed in a way that keeps the poor locked up while the rich remain free.
felicemnatalem69

Pro

The prison system is designed to benefit both the inmates and their victims. The more obvious benefit is for the victims who gain a sense of justice knowing their perpetrator is being punished. The advantage for inmates is more subtle, partly due to the way prisons are depicted in the media - as dangerous grounds where the guards are corrupt and inmates are being murdered by one another daily. This is simply not true.

Many prison sentences are eventually reduced, often by a number of years based on the good conduct of the inmates. This incentive, an early exit from prison, leads to honest attempts at reform. In this sense, prison can take the form of a hard look in the mirror, an evaluation of self through intense introspection. Those inmates who serve lifelong sentences have caused great destruction in the outside world, for unforgiveable crimes (such as murder) that cannot be justified simply by serving time.
Debate Round No. 1
eosh89

Con

You can not say the advantage for inmates is more subtle, partly due to the way prisons are depicted in the media - as dangerous grounds where the guards are corrupt and inmates are being murdered by one another daily. This is simply not true. You can not say this because it is true. While it might not be chaotic 24/7, the things that go one behind closed doors can be violent and violating. The high rate of rape is disturbing. And worse, almost nothing is done about it. It is known for a prisoner to report such a horrific event only to be mocked about it.
It is common for a person of authority to respond back to them saying they must be gay for letting it happen. If they are gay, then it is consensual, and consensual sex is not permitted. This can lead to a disciplinary sanction. That is not the way to treat a rape victim!
There are even worse scenarios where men report it, and they will have them pick out the perpetrator out of a line up of 20 or so prisoners. This puts the victim in a dangerous situation that they are a "snitch. "This makes them a bigger target essentially putting their lives in danger.
There was one case I found surprising to read about. The Butler V Dowd case. A case that made it to prosecution but the settlement these men received for being raped was sickening. Each of the three victims' involved were awarded $1.00.
The case was lucky to even make it that far. Most cases are disregarded and no proper steps are taken to solve the matter. What makes it more difficult is there is almost no way for a prisoner to prove the authorities had knowledge of the attack. It's nearly impossible to overpower people who hold much more power.
At the end of the day, yes; these men have wronged society and must be punished. Prison time is enough of a punishment. These people do not need to be dehumanized because they have made a mistake in their lives. The government should take steps to be more involved in the systems because they people in charge are not doing everything they can to run the prisons the way they should.
felicemnatalem69

Pro

There are several fundamental weaknesses in your arguement. While no one will ever argue that rape should go unpunished, rape is not happening as a direct result of the prison systsem. You are citing a failure of the prison treatment to react to the wickedness of some inmates. It should be said that the high amount of rapes actually reflects the moral deficiencies in many of the people who are incarcerated. In this case, the high concentration of rapes actually justifies the fact that these men are where they are -- behind bars. Again, this is not a direct result of the prison system, simply something they should be handling with more care. The answer is tighter security.

As far as the frequency of guards saying "you must be gay for letting it happen" is concerned, this assertion is completely speculation. There exist no figures to justify your claim. One of the reasons prison rapes may not go to court is the fact that inmates already are in jail. This is not to say that rape should not be prosecuted (in any setting it should), but in prison is could go down as bad, no terrible behavior, and years could be added to an inmates senence.
Debate Round No. 2
eosh89

Con

I was responding to your claim that prisons are not as bad as the movies portray when in fact they can be. Also the statement about that claims they are gay for letting it happen were the direct words of a guard to an inmate who was raped.

My real points come in while discussing scenarios such as the individual poverty stricken man, who commeits a crime, is caught and sentence, and the difference that lies between him and a large corporation. Prison Nation: the Warehousing of America's 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?
felicemnatalem69

Pro

To respond to your first point, the single incident you site is not necessarily representative of the way rape is handled in prisons. It is a horrible example that can be used to overshadow what must be the many positive instances where rape cases are handled with care.

It is hard to put a face to a corporation, which provides jobs for hundreds of thousands of citizens. In the case where there's an unequivocal individual or couple of individuals at fault, these are usually punished...especially in light of the 2008 financial crisis. Bernie Madoff is a good example.

People should not distribute harmful drugs, even for their families, but find alternative ways to make profits. Selling drugs should not be taken lightly. People are offering harmful substances that can ruin the lives of others. This easy way out can be looked at as a selfish act. This being said, a person's socioeconomic circumstances should be taken into account when assigning a positive sentence, rehab and correctional assistance.
Debate Round No. 3
eosh89

Con

Tuche on the point of rehab and correctional services. I could not agree more!

The last point I would like to bring up before a conclusion is the ultimate underdog. 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.
felicemnatalem69

Pro

A detention center may be the best place for these illegal immigrants who have left their home countries to come to America...only to commit crimes, like the murder example, that land them in jail. We cannot be expected to let them roam the streets, illegally, after not only having been discovered to be an illegal, but to have committed a crime. If their home countries will not take them back, they must not be allowed to roam free in the United States. There is no exception, aside from petitioning for readmittance to their home countries. In the meantime, a correctional facility or detention center is an unfortunate necessity.
Debate Round No. 4
eosh89

Con

A detention center is perfectly acceptable for a temporary solution but to for these individuals to stay there for what might be the rest of their lives, all while never knowing anything, is not acceptable. That is a waste of a perfectly good life, they might as well be dead. Most illegals do not sneak into this country hoping to lead a life of crime. Most of these individuals are people who have left there home land because things are so bad. They come here in hopes of being able to provide a decent safe living for themselves and their families. It is much easier for one to find themselves committing a crime when forced into survival mode. Im not saying it is the America's responsibility to take on the burdens of immigrants but I am saying that these are precious lives! They deserve more than a cell and a life of wondering when every thing will be over in the unfamiliar place they have found them selves in.

My overall point is equality for all! If you do the crime you pay the time. Rich, poor, black, white, male, female, and every one in between. You can not lighten up things for one group of people and buckle down on another group of people. That goes against everything equality stands for. Flaws in the system need to be sorted out. On a positive note, these problems are being brought to light. It is a step in the right direction, but until changes are made the poor will continue to do hard time, and the rich will continue on the way they do.
felicemnatalem69

Pro

Equality for all means justice for all. People, regardless of circumstance, must be brought to the stand in the wake of wrongdoing. The woman holding the scales of justice is blindfolded for a reason. Tears do not stream down her face. She is faced with facts and based on these facts justice is served.
Debate Round No. 5
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