The Instigator
ewalsh
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
blamar
Con (against)
Winning
3 Points

Prison conditions in Arizona"s "Tent City" violate the 8th amendment.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
blamar
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/12/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,462 times Debate No: 66867
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)

 

ewalsh

Pro

Prison conditions in Arizona's "Tent City" violate the 8th amendment. The 8th amendment prohibits the government from imposing cruel and unusual punishments. Forcing inmates to live in tents should be considered a cruel and unusual punishment. Not only should living in tents be considered unconstitutional, so should the rest of the inmates living conditions. Inmates are beaten and given poor medical treatment, so poor that it has been ruled unconstitutional in the past. Tent City was ranked as one of the worst prisons in the world in 2012 and has been voted unconstitutional for a number of reasons. Clearly, it is a violation of the 8th amendment.
blamar

Con

"Tent City" may not be a trip to paradise, but by no means is it a violation of the 8th Amendment. The conditions of these prisons are perfectly fine. Prisoners have a roof over their head and food to eat. Those with work release can earn up to $40 a day and can use this money to buy other necessities they might want. It may not be heated or air conditioned, but back when the constitution was written, neither air conditioning nor electric heating existed. In addition to this, prisoners have more personal space than they would if this prison didn't exist. Overcrowding prisons has been a nation wide country and tent city helps with this problem. Also, in some prisons, there isn't enough beds and prisoners are forced to sleep on mats on the floor. In "tent city" every inmate has a bed. Lastly, American soldiers overseas live in practically the same conditions. Is this to say we should treat criminals better then the men and woman who protect our country? "Tent city" is the perfect way to handle the situation of overcrowding prisons while saving hundreds and thousands of dollars every year.
Debate Round No. 1
ewalsh

Pro

Besides living in tents that were built as an overflow extension of the "Tent City" Maricopa County Jail in Phoenix, this jail was purely created to save money and dehumanize criminals that may or may not be guilty. Sheriff Joe Arpaio created this extension purely to fulfill his own desires to be cruel. Inmates now live in hundreds of army surplus tents from the Korean War era. It's home to 2,000 residents, a;; awaiting trial. Not only are we committing unconstitutional acts within the walls of this jail, we are commit tin theses acts on people who may or may not even be guilty. You can't get more wrong than that.
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.
blamar

Con

To the privileged people in our country, this place may seem horrible. These people have been privileged because of their hard work in life, or their families hard work. How happy are you when the government takes a portion of your hard earned pay for taxes? It's almost as if you've worked hours for nothing. And this money is going straight to prisoners, people who cause harm. By inventing these tent prisons, people save hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. For example, $20,000 is saved by excluding salt and pepper, $150,000 is saved by eliminating coffee, $100,000 is saved by providing a vegetarian menu, and over half a million dollars have been saved by switching to bologna sandwiches. Additionally, setting up tents and beds is much more cost and time efficient than building a new prison from the ground.
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.
Debate Round No. 2
ewalsh

Pro

The "Tent City" Jail in Maricopa County, Texas forces overflow inmates to live outside for years in tents, never escaping grueling temperatures and spending far too much time in the sweltering Texas sun. Sheriff Arpaio, mastermind behind the jail"s creation, still forces inmates to perform tasks and jobs that were long ruled unconstitutional for any other jail in this nation.
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.
blamar

Con

Sheriff Arpaio might have a slight reputation for being a tough guy, but below his surface is a man who cares for others. On August 3, 2014 "Tent City" celebrated it's 21st birthday and Arpaio celebrated by sharing cake and Gatorade with the inmates. Being understanding of the heat, during the summer months, according to ABC15 Sheriff Arpaio had ice cream and ice water soaked towels distributed to the inmates. No inmate has ever suffered a life-threatening illness due to weather while in "tent city."
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.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by DimensionKC 1 year ago
DimensionKC
Con, you are suggesting that each inmate has willingly volunteered to be an inmate at this institution? Unfortunately, you are talking about the many people who are awaiting trial and have yet to even be found guilty, unless you suggest that they are just guilty until proven innocent. In that case, your soldiers in Iraq argument makes no sense whatsoever. Another thing; if you are so worried about peoples' taxpayer money, there is a cheaper way to approach this. It is to end the drug war that has costed millions of people millions of dollars and has yielded no success. Decriminalizing drugs would save jails like Tent City tons of money because they would not be allowed to hold people for using or possessing drugs. As a bonus, if you tax these drugs, imagine how much money the government will make to pay for other institutions like schools and libraries or work projects like roads and bridges.
Posted by gomergcc 2 years ago
gomergcc
Pro Why didn't you go into the deaths at the Tents, the inhumane actions of the guards, or even the rotten food. I hate the tents but this was a very weak argument against them.
Posted by ablais 2 years ago
ablais
Worst summer vacation ever!!!!
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by gomergcc 2 years ago
gomergcc
ewalshblamarTied
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Total points awarded:03 
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.