Rehabilitation ought to be valued above Retribution in the US Crimial Justice system
Debate Rounds (4)
Rehabilitation- the restoration of someone to a useful place in society Princeton
Retribution-the act of punishing or taking vengeance for wrongdoing free legal dictionary
I value Societal Welfare which is defined as what is best for society as a whole. Societal welfare is best achieved through the standard of Consequentialism. When we take strive to benefit the greatest good we then achieve societal welfare.
Cummisky author of Kantian Consequentialism writes, In such a situation, what would a conscientious Kantian agent, an agent motivated by the unconditional value of rational being choose? We have a duty to promote the conditions necessary for the existence of rational beings[.], but both choosing to act and choosing not to act will cost the life of a rational being. Since the basis of Kant"s principle is rational nature exists as an end-in-itself, the reasonable solution to such a dilemma involves promoting, insofar as one can, the conditions necessary for rational beings. If I sacrifice some for the sake of other rational beings, I do not use them arbitrarily and I do not deny the unconditional value of rational beings. Persons may have dignity, an unconditional and incomparable value that transcends any market value, but, as rational beings, persons also have a fundamental equality, which dictates that some must sometimes give way for the sake of others. The formula of the end-in-itself thus does not support the view that we may never force another to bear some cost in order to benefit others. If one focuses on the equal value of all rational beings, then equal consideration dictates that one may sacrifice some to save many.
Prefer the affirmative framework for the following reasons:
1.By valuing societal welfare affirming takes on the role of the government by instituting a policy that benefits society.
2.The standard of Consequentialism allows us to avoid deontological drama by achieving a real world mindset.
Contention 1- The current system causes more harms than good.
Sub.B) crime increase
Although retributive punishment yields good intentions, allowing the criminal justice system"s main focus to be retribution harms society. Retributive punishment such as the death penalty increases crime.
Retribution Increases Crime BRUTALIZING SOCIETY DOES NOT HELP. BBC, 2012: Ethics Guide: Arguments against capital punishment: A breakdown of the arguments given in favor of abolishing (or against reintroducing) the death penalty. http://www.bbc.co.uk...
Statistics show that the death penalty leads to a brutalization of society and an increase in murder rate. In the USA, more murders take place in states where capital punishment is allowed. In 2003, the murder rate in states where the death penalty has been abolished was 4.10 per cent per 100,000 people. In states where the death penalty is used, the figure was 5.91 per cent. These calculations are based on figures from the FBI. The gap between death penalty states and non‐death penalty states rose considerably from 4 per cent difference in 1990 to 44 per cent in 2003. Disturbed individuals may be angered and thus more likely to commit murder. It is also linked to increased number of police officers murdered. Brutalizing the state Capital punishment may brutalize society in a different and even more fundamental way, one that has implications for the state's relationship with all citizens.
"If one focuses on the equal value of all rational beings, then equal consideration dictates that one may sacrifice some to save many."
Consequentialism dictates that the life of one individual may be sacrificed for the greater good of society. So, the life of a mass murderer may be sacrificed to satisfy the desire of society for retribution against the murderer.
Contention 1 - the current system is not the only system that can value retribution over rehabilitation. Thus, proving the current system causes more harm than good does not prove the resolution. Indeed, the current system can be improved while still valuing retribution over rehabilitation, causing it to do more good than harm.
Sub. A: Overcrowding is directly contradicted by the introduction of the death penalty as described in sub B.
Sub. B: Correlation is not causation - the studies which Pro provided are not controlled experiments and do not accurately measure the effects of retribution vs. rehabilitation.
Regarding the BBC link, Pro's own consequentialist framework contradicts all of the supporting points on the page:
1. Value of human life -> deontology is concerned with values; consequentialism cares about societal consequences and accepts that in some cases, it is better for society to sacrifice members for the greater good.
2. Right to live: "everyone has an inalienable human right to life" -> again, this directly contradicts consequentialism.
Pro's argument that "retributive punishment such as the death penalty increases crime" is not supported by any definitive evidence. Biology directly contradicts this assertion - empirically, humans and other animals can be made to avoid undesirable behavior via operant conditioning. Although an argument can be made that the death penalty, one specific type of retributive punishment, is not an effective deterrent, it is unarguable that retributive punishment works and does discourage crime. I challenge Pro to find a single scientist who disagrees or a single nation that does not have any form of retributive punishment.
1. Retribution deters crime: "More generally, even if the threat of punishment is no longer a deterrent to a
relatively small number of repeat offenders, that does not mean that the prospect
of punishment, such as imprisonment, for instance, is not a deterrent to the
majority of people who otherwise might be more tempted to break the law and
violate the rights of others in pursuit of their own goals and interests. At best, the
evidence on this point is inconclusive, but the phenomenon of sharp increases in
mindless vandalism, looting, and violence by otherwise law abiding citizens when
they feel that they can get away with it, should cause us to re-think the wisdom of
rejecting punishment altogether." (Barton, 99: Empowerment and Retribution in Criminal and Restorative Justice,
Professional Ethics, A Multidisciplinary Journal. Volume 7, Issue 3/4, Fall/Winter 1999,
Selected Papers from the 1999 Conference of the Australian Association for
Professional and Applied Ethics, Charles Barton, Pages 111-135.)
2. Almost all democratic nations have some form of retributive punishment. It follows that people care about retribution, making it important for society to have retributive punishment so that these people will be content.
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