The Instigator
darris321
Pro (for)
Winning
8 Points
The Contender
xxx200
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Punitive Justice is Never Justified

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
darris321
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/22/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,447 times Debate No: 18929
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
Votes (2)

 

darris321

Pro

This will be my second debate on debate.org. I have not yet finished my first.
I choose this topic because it is one of the only political ideals for which I have a passion.

Punitive justice is never justified for a number of reasons:
1. Crime is almost invariably in the lower socioeconomic classes. This is to say that there is a predisposition for a poor person to do crime. Since there is a predisposition, I don't think the person should be punished.

2. If society wants to change the behavior of the criminal, i.e. deterrence, then punishment is the worst way to go about that. Punishment is the least effective method of behavioral change (1) and usually just leads to law evasion rather than a decrease in social deviance (2).

3. If society does not want to change the behavior of the criminal, and instead just wants to get revenge on him/her, then I am opposed because of the barbarity of that situation, especially considering my first point.

4. Often times, I hear the argument that punishment serves as a deterrent for future criminals. This argument just does not hold water. If a person is going to commit a crime, they will necessarily fall into one of the following subcategories:
a. He/she has considered the punishments and decides to do it anyway.
b. He/she has been paid enough to take that risk.
c. He/she is acting in the heat of passion wherein they don't have the capacity to think of the consequences.
d. He/she is mentally incompetent to understand the consequences.

5. Many Western European nations have a much less punitive system of incarceration. Norway is an ideal example. Norway has annoyed a lot of people who are big on punishing criminals for it's humane prisons, however Norway boasts a recidivism rate 40% lower than the United States (3). It should be noted that I am using that statistic for correlation and not causation.

It is for these reasons that I think punishment is not a good option for crime.

(1)http://www.psychologytoday.com... ... and while I don't have a checkable source, having studied psychology, I know that negative reinforcement is the most effective, if you're interested.

(2)http://en.wikipedia.org...

(3)http://www.time.com...
xxx200

Con

lets analyze the reasons my opponent gave against punitive justice system.

1. Crime is almost invariably in the lower socioeconomic classes. This is to say that there is a predisposition for a poor person to do crime. Since there is a predisposition, I don't think the person should be punished.

ans. but crime can also be seen in upper socioeconomic classes ( rupert murdoch,enron,princess diana murder etc.). now here i want to mention that quantity of crime does not matter. only existance of crime matters.it is clear crime existed irrespective of classes. class does not matter.

2. If society wants to change the behavior of the criminal, i.e. deterrence, then punishment is the worst way to go about that. Punishment is the least effective method of behavioral change (1) and usually just leads to law evasion rather than a decrease in social deviance (2).

ans. why do you think so?

3. If society does not want to change the behavior of the criminal, and instead just wants to get revenge on him/her, then I am opposed because of the barbarity of that situation, especially considering my first point.

ans. yes, i agree, its very barbaric.

4. Often times, I hear the argument that punishment serves as a deterrent for future criminals. This argument just does not hold water. If a person is going to commit a crime, they will necessarily fall into one of the following subcategories:
a. He/she has considered the punishments and decides to do it anyway.
b. He/she has been paid enough to take that risk.
c. He/she is acting in the heat of passion wherein they don't have the capacity to think of the consequences.
d. He/she is mentally incompetent to understand the consequences.

ans. i don't know wheather you know or not,in india, for reason (c) and (d),there is no crime if the heat of passion and incapacity of understanding the consequences are not voluntery i.e. due to some other reason.

but if reason (a) and (b) are not prevented, then don't you think that crime will increase in society?

5. Many Western European nations have a much less punitive system of incarceration. Norway is an ideal example. Norway has annoyed a lot of people who are big on punishing criminals for it's humane prisons, however Norway boasts a recidivism rate 40% lower than the United States (3). It should be noted that I am using that statistic for correlation and not causation.

ans. perhaps humane prison is the reason of norway bomb blast.
http://www.bbc.co.uk...
Debate Round No. 1
darris321

Pro

1. I'm sorry, I should have been more clear. What I mean is that since crime is predictable at a certain rate, there is no reason to suggest that a person is totally at fault. Crime is social deviation. Social deviation shows a psychological problem. If someone has a psychological problem, punishing them for it is undesirable- that includes white collar crime.

2. I don't just think so, I provided sources. The most effective method of operant conditioning (behavior changing) is negative reinforcement. The least effective is punishment. It would be cruel for us to do either and more cruel to use negative reinforcement, however, at least a system that uses negative reinforcement would be more likely to be effective. The punitive system is both cruel and ineffective.

3. Has been conceded by the opponent.

4. I'm not suggesting that we do nothing, I'm suggesting punishment is not the way to change them. Social deviation is what crime is. Social deviation is behavior. Punishment is ineffective in changing behavior. Ergo It is unrealistic to change A and B via punishment.

5. Or perhaps it is because 3 people ate 4 donuts in Norway that day. My opponent has used the after-this-therefore-because-of-this fallacy (ad hoc ergo propter hoc).
It could have been the prison system, or it could have been any number of other causes. Just because one happened after the other doesn't mean the first caused the second.
However, let's give it a response anyway. It is unlikely that the prison system caused the bombing because Norway also has a much lower crime rate (1) than the United States, so all other things being equal, it would appear the opposite- that Norway's prison system prevents crime, not the other way around.

(1) http://dev.prenhall.com...
xxx200

Con

punishment is a system to warn the society that if somebody will do this crime, the result of their action will not be good for them.this is also called negetive reinforcement.

if this mechanism are not there, chances are that there would be no control over crime.the society will be a perfect hellhouse.

not all crime is pchychological. some are. many are not.we must punish those criminal who are not phycho.because they do crime, not out of mental incapability but out of their own wish.

we better eliminate the reasons of crime that is rooted in our society. that reason is: "not getting something when we want it".if we solve this problem, there will be no crime anymore.

elimination of punishment therefore not justified.
Debate Round No. 2
darris321

Pro

My opponent has failed to respond to a number of my points.
1. The contender has failed to respond to the idea that since crime is predicted to happen in certain areas, punishment doesn't make sense.
2. The contender has failed to respond to my second point that the punitive system is both cruel and ineffective, although, it may be that my point was not clear as I didn't make my opponent aware of what negative reinforcement means. Now that I have clarified, I look forward to my opponent's renewed answer.
3. The contender has failed to respond to the fact that crime is behavior and so punishment is ineffective at changing it, and finally:
4. The contender has failed to respond to the fact that Norway's soft on crime approach appears to be effective as we can see by their lower crime and recidivism rates.

Punishment is not the same as negative reinforcement. An example of negative reinforcement would be if X was doing something painful to Y until Y pushed a button when X would stop the pain. Negative reinforcement is "punishment" until the behavior changes then the reward is no more punishment. Positive reinforcement is when X gives Y a treat for pressing the button. Punishment is when X does something painful to Y when Y stops pressing the button.
Punishment just leads Y to press the button while X is watching, it doesn't make Y actually continue pressing the button.
The intended function of punishment is not in question. I think we both agree that punishment is there for the purpose of stopping crime. We differ on whether or not it is justified and whether or not it works.
I have shown that it doesn't work. This along with the other reasons I've given show that it is not justified.

"if this mechanism are not there, chances are that there would be no control over crime.the society will be a perfect hellhouse."
This is a perfect example of total speculation. My opponent has given no reason to believe that society would be "a perfect hellhouse". It is also demonstrably false. It is an absolute statement which the existence of Norway as a non "hellhouse" disproves.

I would like to remind my opponent that I have not suggested leaving criminals in society where they could hurt someone, I have just suggested that we don't look at where we put them as a punishment.
It makes more sense to change our prisons to therapy centers.

I disagree that all crime is not psychological. All behavior is psychological. All crime is deviant behavior, so all crime is psychological. It is my belief that their own wish to commit crime is evidence of their need for therapy, not evidence of their need to be punished. I direct my opponent's attention to Norway again.

My opponent engages in speculation for a second time with the statement ""not getting something when we want it".if we solve this problem, there will be no crime anymore."
There is no evidence that crime will no longer exist if all wants are satisfied.
As Alfred says in "The Dark Knight", "Some men just want to watch the world burn."

If we ignore the speculation my opponent uses in that final paragraph, the conclusion is still not sound. It is the argument that "if we satisfy all wants, crime will stop, therefore elimination of punishment is not justified."

I don't think anyone would agree that "satisfy all wants" is equal to "punish".

I look forward to the contender's rebuttal.
xxx200

Con

so my opponent is saying about behavior change. but punishment will not change the behavior. negetive reinforcement (nr) can.

lets see when punishment is usefull or when it is useless.let us see an example to understand.

suppose x has stolen something because he needs that thing but he has no means to get that except stealing. how to change this behavior of x?

in punishment:

x will spend some years in jail. govt. will watch and then x will be freed.limited time.predictable terms.there will be a change of his behaviour because he will understand the consequence of his act. also he is not going to steal if his need is fulfilled in future.so it is effective.

in nr:

x will be treated painfully unless x will give up his behavior.there will be no fixed time limit at all. no predictable terms.there will be a change of his behaviour and he will probably be a mental patient.also he is not going to steal if his need is fulfilled in future.therefore it is ineffective.

now consider another scenario........

suppose x has stolen something because he likes stealing. how to change this behavior of x?

in punishment:

x will spend some years in jail. govt. will watch and then x will be freed.limited time.predictable terms.there will be no change of his behaviour because his attitudes will not change.therefore it is ineffective.


in nr:

x will be treated painfully unless x will give up his behavior.there will be no fixed time limit at all. no predictable terms.there will be change of his behaviour because his attitude will change.here nr is effective.

now you see,

there are 2 reasons of crime: need and behaviour/attitude.

in case of need, punishment is effective, nr is not effective.

in case of behaviour, punishment is ineffective and nr is effective.

so, we cannot say, that punishment is totally useless. it is usefull when the reason of crime is need.

it is useless when the reason of crime is behaviour or attitude.As Alfred says in "The Dark Knight", "Some men just want to watch the world burn."



"I disagree that all crime is not psychological. All behavior is psychological. All crime is deviant behavior, so all crime is psychological. It is my belief that their own wish to commit crime is evidence of their need for therapy, not evidence of their need to be punished. I direct my opponent's attention to Norway again."

please consult with an expert of criminology.you may be a psychologist but not a criminologist.
Debate Round No. 3
darris321

Pro

My opponent has come to conclusions with speculation, without logic, and without citing any sources. The scenarios are fine, but we are simply asked to accept the conclusions of the contender.

There are multiple reasons of crime. Punishment is never justified. Whether or not the person understands punishment as a consequence, that just means, like I showed, that they will simply not do the punishable action IF they think they will be caught. It doesn't actually change the behavior, no matter how many faulty scenarios, my opponent thinks up.

I have never made the argument that "punishment is totally useless" only that "punishment is never justified". It is not useful when the crime is need because punishment doesn't change behavior.

My opponent then uses an argument to authority fallacy. He/she suggests that I should talk to a criminologist despite not citing any sources to show that a criminologist would be any better at gleaning the truth in this matter than me.
I am not a psychologist, I just studied psychology. One of my majors is actually criminal justice- also known as criminology.
I urge my opponent to not make assumptions about my education and to not draw conclusions on the issue because of education.
Education is irrelevant to the matter at hand.

I ask that the readers vote pro.
xxx200

Con

xxx200 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
darris321

Pro

While a forfeit doesn't necessarily mean a loss, I am unable to make any rebuttal, so I still ask the readers to vote pro.
xxx200

Con

xxx200 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by smileydodge 5 years ago
smileydodge
I think that this is a very wise and good debate. However, I think I believe in most of what you are saying and do not what to debate against what I believe. Thank you.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by BlackVoid 5 years ago
BlackVoid
darris321xxx200Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: F
Vote Placed by PartamRuhem 5 years ago
PartamRuhem
darris321xxx200Tied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: forfeit's two rounds. Bad S G for con too