Prison conditions in Arizona"s "Tent City" violate the 8th amendment.
Debate Rounds (3)
These tents are unheated in the winter and uncooled in the summer where temperatures inside them have been clocked as high as 145 degrees. Sheriff Arpaio himself calls "Tent City" a "Concentration camp," a concept this country long ago denounced and fought a war over.
Male inmates are forced by Arpaio to wear pink underwear under their old-school chain-gang striped convict suits in attempts to break down their masculinity. During the day, in temperatures well exceeding 100 degrees, the men, women, and teens of "Tent City" are sent out to work in "chain-gangs," (prisoners are chained together and forced to perform menacing physical tasks. They are then served 2 meals a day that were recently found the cheapest among the nation's jails. Arpaio argues that he saved taxpayers $20,000 just by cutting salt and pepper out of their meals.
Back within the tent walls, inmates face daily beatings, not only by gangbangers but by guards as well. This is then followed by medical care so dismal it was ruled unconstitutional by a federal court.
In 2008, a U.S. district court judge ruled the inadequate conditions at the Maricopia County Jail, overlooked by Sheriff Joe Arpaio, unconstitutional. With the facts I have presented, it is easy to see just how horrible the Maricopia County Jail really is. Of course criminals are criminals and they must be punished for their crimes, they are also human. Tent City is full of men, women, and teens awaiting trial who may or may not be guilty. Why dehumanize an innocent man? There is no reason to do so, proving, with a substantial amount of evidence, that Tent City clearly violates the 8th amendment. By performing cruel and unusual punishments on its inmates, as mentioned, it violates the 8th amendment.
As said before, not giving heat and air-conditioning does not violate the 8th amendment as there wasn't such a thing as air conditioning or electric heating when the constitution was written. Also, soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan experience temperatures of 115 degrees and maybe even more too. Our soldiers don't have air conditioning in their tents and they also need to wear uniforms and carry heavy equipment. Is this to say prisoners are more deserving of air conditioning than our own soldiers?
People in these tents are all sentenced to one year or less. As for the disliked prison uniform, well at least they have some clothes on their back to wear. After all, this is jail and inmates by no means should expect to wear something of the latest fashion. This tent city is such a positive alternative to solve overcrowding prisons and also save on the cost of prisons and this is probably why Arpaio has an 85% approval rating. If there was any clear violation to the eight amendment, this prison would have already been closed. In perspective of all other real world situations, tent city does not violate the 8th amendment.
Some may argue that "Tent City" does not violate the 8th amendment because soldiers overseas live in similar conditions. But there"s a huge difference, soldiers choose to live in these conditions and they get paid for it. One could also put forth the argument that the soldiers are living in conditions that also violate the 8th amendment which still makes Tent City unconstitutional no matter what.
By looking at the facts presented before, it is easy to see that the inmates at Tent City are dehumanized and punished very cruelly and unusually. Keep in mind that the residents of Tent City are only awaiting trial, they are not yet considered guilty for their low-level crimes. They are beaten and chained together while performing difficult physical tasks in the hot sun. They live outside on a daily basis and in all weather conditions. Tent City has already been voted unconstitutional by a federal judge based on its medical treatment or lack there of. There is no reason why this judge"s statements should be revoked or reconsidered. The facts are there and Tent City very, very clearly violates the 8th amendment.
Some might argue that soldiers volunteer to live in these conditions and therefore it is not fair to compare soldiers conditions to criminals conditions. But wouldn't it be fair to assume that these criminals volunteer to commit their crimes and it's understood that when a person commits a crime they spend time in jail?
In the end, it's clear to me that "Tent City" is the perfect alternative to typical prisons. It's saves lots of taxpayers money, it helps solve the problem of overcrowding prisons, and it's an effective measure for punishing criminals and helping prevent repeat offenders. While many of the conditions may seem unfavorable to the typical American, they are by no means cruel and unusual, and therefore they do not violate the 8th amendment.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by gomergcc 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I am resident of Phoenix, were tent city is located, and against Sheriff Arpaio. I would love to vote Pro but in this debate I found Pro's arguments weak and Con gave a strong rebuttal.
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