The Instigator
16kadams
Con (against)
Winning
3 Points
The Contender
miketheman1200
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

Resolved: The Death Penalty Should be Abolished

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
16kadams
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/2/2015 Category: Economics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,118 times Debate No: 69338
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (20)
Votes (2)

 

16kadams

Con

== Definitions ==

Death Penalty: "Capital punishment or the death penalty is a legal process whereby a person is put to death by the state as a punishment for a crime." -- http://en.wikipedia.org...

Although this debate is about the US, examples from other countries can be used, all dat cool stuff.

== Structure ==

R1: Pro can either accept or write his arguments.
R2: Arguments (or rebuttals depending as to how Pro wants to go)
R3: Rebuttals
R4: Rebuttals and closing. If Pro argues in R1, he just writes "no round as agreed" or can post Sabaton lyrics.

;D
miketheman1200

Pro

I accept and look forward to this discussion.

State your case.
Debate Round No. 1
16kadams

Con


I thank my opponent for accepting the debate.


C1) The Death Penalty is a Deterrent


The assumption that the death penalty deters crime is not something new. Economists study how humans work. They study how they react to incentives and punishments. In their research they have determined higher prices reduce consumption, and lower prices increase consumption. In other words, humans are rational creatures. Economists like Gary Becker have found the same applies to criminals as early as the 1960s. Becker argued his models of crime showed how criminals are rational actors, and will change their behavior based upon the cost—punishments—and the benefits [1]. Murray Rothbard agrees with these conclusions, noting “it seems indisputable that some murders would be deterred by the death penalty. Sometimes the liberal argument comes perilously close to maintaining that no punishment deters any crime — a manifestly absurd view that could easily be tested by removing all legal penalties for nonpayment of income tax and seeing if there is any reduction in the taxes paid.” [12]. Thus, we see the theoretical reasons suggest that the death penalty would likely deter *some* crime.


With this in mind, it follows more extreme punishments will decrease crime as criminals fear death. Thus, the death penalty would act as a strong deterrent to crime. But is there any evidence for this?


Early research was conducted by Issac Ehrlich in the 1970s. His work demonstrated a strong deterrent effect in relation to the death penalty. Most arguments against the death penalty—either morally or in relation to its efficacy—fail to take into account the death penalty’s (DP) strong deterrent effect. Ehrlich’s study found each execution prevents 1 – 8 murders [2].


Recent evidence corroborates these previous conclusions. A strong consensus amongst modern research finds that the DP reduces the rates of homicide. There are at least 17 studies indicating the DP reduces the occurrence of murder, whereas only 5 contest these results. Two are inconclusive—and it must be noted of the studies claiming it is inconclusive, one found a deterrent effect, though waived it as weak [3].


Death penalty opponents have even concluded the DP reduces murder rates. They describe their findings as merely “a scientific finding which demonstrates that people react to incentives” [4]. Thus, these authors actively waive their opinions and conclude the death penalty reduces homicide. Authors who have a vested ideological interest against the DP provide the strongest argument for its existence.


The vast majority of evidence suggests the death penalty saves lives. Unless my opponent can prove the harms of the death penalty outweigh its strong deterrent effects, he loses the debate.


C2) The Death Penalty Prevents Recidivism


According to a Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), recidivism rates for homicide are actually fairly high. Although basic google searches show you liberal journalists claiming the recidivism rate for murderers are zero, this is blatantly incorrect. 12.5% of those whose greatest offense was homicide were arrested within 6 months. Over 5 years, 51.2% had been arrested again. Of those whose only offence was homicide, the rate was 0.9% [5]. So the worst criminals (say, you robbed, then raped, and then murdered the victim) had extremely high recidivism rates of 51.2%--and that demographic is the most likely to be executed. Of those who only murder, it is about 1%. Although the second number may seem small, it is fairly significant. In New York alone, 230 murderers and sexual predators have been released [6]. This means, using the low 0.9% number, 2 people would have been murdered due to recidivism.


Assuming California and Texas are the only ones with comparable numbers (~200), and the rest only released one, we would have about 677 murderers released each year. This would be about 6 murders due to released murders each year. And this is a low estimate! In California, there have been 1400 murderers in prison for life released over a short 3 year period (466 per year) [7]. As we can see, the amount of people released from prison is actually fairly high and may lead to dozens of unwanted murders from those who repeat their crimes. Even those who were in prison for ‘life’ have been released and inflicting harm on innocent people. One of the most efficient ways to do this is execution.


An anti-death penalty article admits although murders committed by those serving a life without parole sentence is rare, the rate is about 4.1/100,000 (personal calculation based upon their cross-sectional comparisons) [10]. In 2013 there were around 50,000 prisoners serving life without parole sentences [11]. This means every year there are 3 murders committed by those serving life without parole sentences in prison. Although the anti-DP article claims DP would increase these with their cross-sectional data, a conclusion makes no sense—something I would respond to if my opponent chooses to bring it up. But based on this, if more murderers are executed (or even all), 2-3 murders would be prevented each year.


C3) Justice


How our society punishes those who harm other people should be proportional as to what crime is committed. A more extreme punishment (e.g. death) should be given to someone who commits atrocious crimes. An example of where the death penalty would be appropriate would be the murder of Kelly Anne Bates. Bates was tortured for four weeks prior to her death. Here eyes were gouged out 3 weeks before her death—being drowned in a bathtub. The autopsy found 150 separate injuries on her body. She suffered burns, a hot iron was applied to her thigh, her warm was broken, she was partially scalped, she was stabbed, and parts of her body was mutilated—including her ears and genitals [8]. The perpetrator was only sentenced to life in prison and would serve at least 20 years—meaning he could potentially be released. I ask my opponent to justify not executing criminals such as this.


Indeed, there is at least some point where execution—which involves taking away the life of a person—would be justified in the case of an atrocity such as this. Should the murderer only serve 20 years in prison, while being fed, clothed, kept warm, and in some cases even obtain companionship? Taking the life away of a person—even criminals—must be treated with great care. However, there are cases where the death penalty is required in order to facilitate justice. Once dead, it is the only guaranteed way they can never kill again. They will have no chance of killing other inmates, people if paroled because they are ‘rehabilitated’, etc. The death penalty is the only sure way to make sure (1) they are harshly punished and (2) the punishment is permanent.


Rothbard, a libertarian cited above, expands this argument. He claims the murderer forfeits his right to life after he commits his crime. He then argues—from a rights perspective—that the victim (or, in this case, those related to the victim) should have the choice as to whether or not the death penalty should be used. The victim had no choice. But he argues the victim or his relatives should have the right to select the punishment—and to deny that right would be to subvert the rights of those involved in the case [13]. Rothbard also suggests people should put how they want a potential murderer to be treated in their will. Thus, liberals can say they do not want executions, and extremists like me can write statements in a blunt manner, “string him up!” Thus, the death penalty is morally justified from a libertarian perspective—one which is meant to ensure rights to all people. And this means, at least in some cases, the death penalty would help promote the rights of the victim.


What also must be noted is that this is a corollary to C1. C1 proves death acts as a deterrent. If my opponent wishes to contest this point or make any moral arguments, he must first prove the harms of the death penalty outweigh the tremendous amount of lives saved. As the Heritage Foundation explains, “If each execution is saving lives, the harms of capital punishment would have to be very great to justify its abolition” [9].


The DP is morally justified and often is required in order to ensure justice prevails.



1. http://www.nber.org...


2. http://deathpenalty.procon.org...


3. http://www.cjlf.org...


4. http://www.nber.org...


5. http://www.bjs.gov...


6. http://nypost.com...


7. http://www.cbsnews.com...


8. http://en.wikipedia.org...


9. http://www.heritage.org...


10. https://death.rdsecure.org...


11. http://www.businessinsider.com...


12. http://mises.org...


miketheman1200

Pro

My opponent begins with the age old argument that the death penalty deters crime. This has been the most used argument by supporters of the DP for years and he is right, in the 1970's Issac Ehrlich did conduct research on the effects of the death penalty in terms of deterring crime. For a while this was good news for people who supported the DP. Unfortunately for Con as years pass more evidence is made available, much of it contradicting his 1970 studies. Nobel Laureate Lawrence Klein chaired a panel set up by the National Academy of Sciences where most of Ehrlich's research was discredited and considered unfit to shape public policy. [1]
___
Aside from this Michael Radelet and Ronald Akers conducted a survey receiving complete questionnaires from 67 out of 71 of former presidents of the three leading professional criminology associations in the United States: American Society of Criminology, Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, and the Law and Society Association. The consensus from these questionnaires was that the death penalty could do little to reduce the rate of violent crime. This survey was done in 1996. A similar survey of the most recent members was done in 2008 with identical results. [1] The criminology experts agree that it is not a deterrent.
___

Jeffery Fagan of Colombia Law school also determined that much of the data used in studies such as the ones con cited had used flawed data. An excerpt from the article shows his analysis on deterrence, " Execution would have to occur with sufficient frequency and with widespread knowledge among would-be murderers to create a credible threat considering the types of murders that might be eligible for execution. There is no sign of that, nor does it seem likely. For example, there were 16,137 murders in 2004, according to the FBI, but only 125 death sentences were handed out, and 59 persons—most of whom were convicted a decade earlier—were executed. There are no direct tests of deterrence among murderers, nor are there studies showing their awareness of executions in their own state, much less in faraway states. There is no evidence that if aware of the possibility of execution, a potential murderer would rationally decide to forgo homicide and use less lethal forms of violence". [4]

___

I would beg the question, why is it that over the years the rate of murders has gone down in states where this is no death penalty, equally or faster than in states with the death penalty? Statistics from the FBI violent crime page shows that the averages for homicide are higher in states with the death penalty than with out. Overall violent crime is down although if Con was correct in his assumption that the DP deters crime, why isn't the crime rate declining faster in states that have the DP? [2]
___
Even if Cons data is true in regards to recidivism, this could easily be used in favor of a mandatory sentence of life without parole. It is not specific to the death penalty. Criminals who can leave jail can commit crimes again. Life behind bars and the DP both prevent this. I understand that Con will bring up the fact the life sentences are released from prison sometimes. So are people on death row. It happens. An argument can be made with your statistics for either side and so for each side I see it as moot.
___
Con makes the case that in terms of justice the DP is the only just punishment for murder. He gives the example of a gruesome murder to appeal to our emotions and gain our sympathy. Most people who support the death penalty will tout similar stories. I'm more interested in reason and not emotion. We all must remember that the money used to kill these inmates is money from all our pockets. I wouldn't call it justice that a state may kill in the name of and with the money of millions who are against the action. Even though Americans have generally favored the DP there are millions of us who do not. It is not fair that peoples money is used to do something they find abhorrent and immoral. Even if you argue that the other side is being forced to pay for that persons meals and so forth, you are also paying for their detention. You are paying for the feeling they will have every morning when they wake up and realize they will never feel the outside world because of what they did. After death people do not know consequence, they do not know right or wrong. They are relieved of their conscience and of their past. If a family who suffered from a violent crime pays for life without parole, the criminal will face that punishment for a lifetime. I'm not going to justify murderers being released because I don't believe any cold blooded killer should be. Life without the possibility of parole is what I advocate in place of the DP.
___

The DP is also far more expensive to the tax payer. An average death penalty case runs the state up to 470,000 dollars in additional cost for public defenders and prosecutors although depending on the state cases can run into the millions. This does not even account for court costs. Death Row inmates are double the cost of life in prison inmates in terms of housing them. Taking into account how long people stay on the death row the numbers add up. The appeals process adds even more to the cost and there is no way to slow down that process with our justice system today. [5]


The DP is not only a primitive form of punishment, it can set a precedent that we do not want. The Federal and numerous state government practice the DP and so can also modify how to earn it. As it stands there are a number of States that already have the death penalty as a charge for counts of child rape. Is the death penalty justified then. It has not been tried in the supreme court but in the 1990s the Federal government changed what actions can warrant the death penalty, one being drug trafficking and the other being Attempting, authorizing or advising the killing of any officer, juror,or witness in cases involving a Continuing Criminal Enterprise, regardless of whether such killing actually occurs. [3]. There are already multiple crimes that warrant the death penalty without there being a murder or anybody dead. I find it unwise that we should keep a policy that is tax payer funded and can be defined differently based on who is elected. If we condone it against one group of people now, we condone it against another group later, violent or non violent.

___

Finally an possibly the most understandable reason to object to the death penalty is the unintentional death sentence. Those people who were wrongfully accused, convicted, and killed. Samuel R. Gross and a team of researchers used the survival analysis model to determine that 4.1% of death row inmates are wrongfully sentenced. Out of the 1,320 executed they concluded that it is almost certain some of them were innocent. Either they are killed, later released based on evidence, or reduced to life in prison and must wait even longer for the justice system to correct itself. If con is to insist that the death penalty is necessary in these cases, he must also hold true that the few innocents killed are just an unfortunate consequence to the benefits of the DP. All the while this does not eliminate the possibility of more innocents being wrongfully sent to death row and the tax payer covering their wrongful conviction onto the most expensive rap sheet of the criminal justice system. [6]

___

I ask con to consider that the DP may be more costly, ineffective, and immoral than he had previously thought. Thank you








Debate Round No. 2
16kadams

Con

I thank my opponent for his response.


== Rebuttals ==


R1) Innocence


My opponent’s argument contradicts his point under recidivism. If you want life sentences to actually be for life, then the risk of locking up an innocent person in jail would also be prevalent--if not more so--under his system.


Second, the study done by Gross does not prove innocents have been executed, but they have been convicted. The study’s sample mainly consisted of people who were exonerated. First, this means any/most innocent people put sentenced to death are let go. And second, they may actually not be innocent. Exonerations occur for many reasons, and innocence is a legal term and not a truth. The evidence may not have been overwhelming, even though it is likely the person was guilty. The reason for a high exoneration rate, as economist John Lott notes, doesn’t imply “the defendant was innocent”, but rather “because so much effort is put into appeals” [8].


The study itself admits the high exoneration rate means “a substantial proportion of innocent defendants who are sentenced to death are ultimately exonerated, perhaps a majority” [9]. In other words, the study admits most people who are ‘innocent’ and sentenced to death are actually not executed. Indeed, another analysis finds a rightful conviction rate of 99.72% [10]. Due to the fact life cases have less review--fewer appeals--more innocent people may be harmed if the death penalty is abolished.


R2) Costs


Studies claiming the DP is costly fail to take into account plea bargains. Before plea bargains are accounted for, the DP costs about 2.6 more as LWOP. But when the they are controlled for, the DP is only about 1.5 times as costly [11]. Cost studies also ignore healthcare costs and rely upon small sample sizes. Similarly, data after 1993 is different than prior data as the definition of a life sentence changed. Studies using large sample sizes have actually concluded the death penalty costs about the same as equivalent LWOP cases [12].


What also must be noted is the benefit of deterrence, as well. A new study suggests the cost of each murder is about $17 million, and other estimates center around 24 million. In extreme cases, murder can cost $24 million due to “victim costs, criminal justice

costs, lost offender productivity, and public willingness-to-pay costs.” [13] Thus, if the death penalty deters just one murder, it reduces the cost to society by about 17 - 24 million. If each execution deters 3 murders, it saves $51 million. And some estimates suggests each execution deters 18 murders [14], or $306 million saved. Thus, even if we assume a high cost of the death penalty of in excess of $3 million [15], if the DP only prevents one murder (low estimate), $14 million are saved. Thus, if my C1 is proven, this point is also disproven.


Now my opponent claims the DP is bad because it is used for rape. This is unjust, as it would likely increase crime (if the sentence is the same for rape and murder, just murder the victim--no evidence!) But merely because a few states did this does not warrant DP abolition. It means the system should be mended, not ended. Or that it should be administered on a Federal Level equally across the states in order to avoid confusion. This is really a moot point.


== Defense ==


C1) Deterrence


My opponent begins by refuting the study by Issac Ehrlich. He claims the NAS panel has discredited the study. But the panel itself had many issues and failed to refute the methodology of Ehrlich’s research. After previous criticisms of his work were refuted, the NAS attempted to conclusively prove Ehrlich as incorrect. But the NAS makes many key concessions, including admitting that the best research supports deterrence theory. As Ehrlich and Randall Mark respond, “not a single practitioner of the economic approach to crime is to be found among the Panel's interdisciplinary roster of members” [1]. In other words, they use people with no expertise in econometrics to criticize econometrics. Ehrlich and Mark clarify they are not trying to insult the authors, rather the NAS panel suffers from many shortcomings which stem from their lack of training in the field of econometrics. Ehrlich also argues the NAS does not dispute his findings due to lack of methodological rigor, but the criticism relies upon “conjectures” [1]. He argues they more focused on philosophical/logical questions of the study, not it’s actual methods.


My opponent next cites a survey of criminologists. As noted, criminologists (usually) have little expertise in the field of econometrics--where this debate generally focuses. Regardless, the study still fails to refute the deterrence hypothesis. Even though the criminologists think the DP is a weak deterrent, 100% of the sample actually agreed the DP deterred some [2].


Fagan’s analysis is also weak as it seems to fail to control for other variables. The fact the crime rate was low and as was the execution rate is irrelevant, as many other factors reduce crime other than the DP. Further, specifying *when* you were convicted is irrelevant, as the actual execution is often publicized, meaning when they are executed, not convicted, is more important. It also must be noted 59 executions is fairly high (higher than every year from 1976 - 1996), and was higher than everything from 2006 onward [3]. The execution rate peaked around 1999 - 2000 [1], and the greatest increase in the execution rate occurred between 1991 - 2000. At the same time as the massive increase in executions, the fastest decreases in crime occurred--and peaked down in 2000 at the height of the execution rate [4]. Fagan argues after 1998, the correlation breaks (DP falls crime falls). But crime between 1998 - 2008 either increased or stayed the same, so his criticism is incorrect. His strongest criticism is that DP studies fail sensitivity tests (i.e. different variables significantly change the results). However, he must have not been aware of the studies which tried to make the deterrent effect disappear--it did not go away [5]. Thus, the results of these studies are robust and accurate.


My opponent then compares states without death penalties to those with death penalties. These comparisons fail for many reasons, the first and obvious being states are different and not comparable. The second being the endogeneity problem. Those states without the DP had low crime before they abolished the DP--so the fact they have low crime is due to other variables than DP laws. Studies have isolated the effect of the DP, and find when other factors are controlled for, states with the DP had larger decreases in crime and had lower crime rates [6]. See, for example, the following graph.



I am not saying the DP is the main factor in crime rates, I am merely saying it is one in many.


C2) Recidivism


My opponent seems to accept my data, but argue LWOP sentences are sufficient in preventing this. But this criticism falls apart when my evidence included 400 people being released from jail who had life sentences. It also falls apart when there is a fairly long list of criminals--often who murder and rape--who had LWOP sentences but were let free and ended up killing again [7]. The death penalty is the only 100% effective way to prevent recidivism.


C3) Justice


My opponent claims I rely upon emotions, but this is untrue. These are real cases which occur. As I argued, the death penalty is justified in those instances. Thus, in those cases, the DP should be sought out--and, therefore, the DP should not be abolished.


He makes an interesting argument--it isn’t just to execute people when taxpayers who may oppose the DP have to fund it. But this can be remedied easily. If people oppose the DP, elect electors against it. Abolish it in your state. And this also can be used against him: Why should people like me fund LWOP cases if we support the DP? Many people also complain about funding roads, when it is obviously a public good. Others oppose funding police departments because the police may oppose marijuana usage. But this does not mean the existence of public roads or a police force is immoral.




1. Isaac Ehrlich and Randall Mark. “Fear of Deterrence: A Critical Evaluation of the ‘Report of the Panel on Research on Deterrent and Incapacitative Effects’”, The Journal of Legal Studies Vol. 6, No. 2 (1977): 293-316.

2. http://homicidesurvivors.com..../

3. http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...

4. http://www.fbi.gov...

5. http://www.bus.lsu.edu...

6. http://www.hawaii.edu...

7. http://www.wesleylowe.com...

8. http://www.nationalreview.com...

9. http://www.pnas.org...

10. http://www.cato-unbound.org...

11. http://www.cjlf.org...

12. Sorensen, Jonathan R., and Rocky LeAnn Pilgrim. Lethal Injection: Capital Punishment in Texas during the Modern Era. Austin, TX: University of Texas, 2006.

13. http://www.soc.iastate.edu...

14. http://www.heritage.org...

miketheman1200

Pro

I will mostly be addressing cons arguments in this round.
___
"If you want life sentences to actually be for life, then the risk of locking up an innocent person in jail would also be prevalent if not more so his system
___
If there is no death penalty, lawyers would be able to focus more time and resources on wrongful convictions for these men who are serving LWOP.
___
"Second, the study done by Gross does not prove innocents have been executed"
___
True, but Gross does state he is certain based on the numbers that there have been wrongful executions. Just to give you some examples:
____
Unfortunately in many cases across the United States the most damming evidence can be witness testimony. In many of the examples this was the main evidence used to wrongfully execute the accused.
____
"Studies claiming the DP is costly fail to take into account plea bargains. Before plea bargains are accounted for, the DP costs about 2.6 more as LWOP. But when the they are controlled for, the DP is only about 1.5 times as costly"
___
This report indicates the total costs accounting for multiple variables by year for each state with the death penalty and includes cost comparisons. And like you said, yes it still costs the state much more.
____
Back to deterrence then. Con did address Fagan in some respects but still can not prove, as Fagan pointed out, that any criminal actually thinks about the death penalty before considering committing crime. There is no observable evidence of this. It is speculative at best. The only thing that can be observed is regret and that is not sufficient enough.
____
I find it humorous that con cites a criticism of the NAS by the person the NAS was criticizing. But I digress.
____
Con continues to bring up econometrics as the saving grace for his deterrence argument and insists that this is the only credible research done on the subject. He even says that because the people who discredited his studies were not econometric experts that they were not qualified to make that assesment. Unfortunately for con econometric studies are essentially the only studies that may lead to his conclusion because suprisingly as I have found some of them do not. Cons only proof is one that only is on his side some of the time. The main criticism of econometrics is that "Models that find deterrence effects of capital punishment often rely on rather bizarre specifications. In a rigorous and comprehensive review Cameron (1994, 214) observed that, “What emerges most strongly from this review is that obtaining a significant deterrent effect of executions seems to depend on adding a set of data with no executions to the time series and including an executing/non-executing dummy in the cross-section analysis . . . there is no clear justification for the latter practice.” ". [6] http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
____

Essentially econometric users have to compensate for the lack of data and it obscures the results. So sometimes the results of these studies are different because of the data that should or shouldn't be left out. On the contrary hundreds of comparisons have been done on the homicide rates in states with and without the DP and have found no deterrence.

[6] http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...

___


Two econometricians weigh in on their own findings, "Cloninger and Marchesini concede that “studies such as the present one that rely on inductive statistical analysis cannot prove a given hypothesis correct.” However, they argue that when a large number of such studies give the same result, this provides “robust evidence” which “causes any neutral observer pause.”

____


Another reason to ignore econometricians on this subject is that many of them misrepresent data as mentioned before to fit their bias for BOTH sides of the argument!


"In response to Ehrlich’s (1975) initial econometric study, other econometricians using the same data included Yunker (1976), who found a stronger deterrent effect than Ehrlich, and Cloninger (1977), who supported his findings. But Bowers and Pierce (1975), Passel and Taylor (1977), and Hoenack and Weiler (1980) found no deterrence at all". [6] http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...

______

Finally in 2012 the National Research Council of the National Academies released their review of over three decades worth of research involving the sorts of methods con insists are the only credible methods of determining deterrence. They found that the research consistently contained three major flaws.


1. The studies do not factor in the effects of noncapital punishments that may also be imposed.

_____


2. The studies use incomplete or implausible models of potential murderers’ perceptions of and response to the use of capital punishment

_____


3. Estimates of the effect of capital punishment are based on statistical models that make assumptions that are not credible.

______


[7] http://www.nap.edu...


[8] http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...


_______


At this point it is up to the voters to determine the credibility of the econometric models of study though i will continue to cite the examples of their failures if con continues to insist that they are as solid as he claims they are.

_______

" Even though the criminologists think the DP is a weak deterrent, 100% of the sample actually agreed the DP deterred some [2]. "

_______


This is not an accurate conclusion considering that as can be seen from your source 91% said the DP was not any stronger a deterrent then LWOP.

_______


"But this criticism falls apart when my evidence included 400 people being released from jail who had life sentences. It also falls apart when there is a fairly long list of criminals--often who murder and rape--who had LWOP sentences but were let free and ended up killing again [7]. The death penalty is the only 100% effective way to prevent recidivism. "

________


Con completely ignores my previous point. Just as we could reform the system to improve the death penalty we could just as easily implement more absolute sentences in terms of LWOP. His point is moot. Not to mention its dishonest to claim the DP is the ONLY way possible to prevent recidivism. Like I said, if we instituted a policy where LWOP was absolute with a lack of evidence to a convicts innocence, it would have the same effect.

________


"Why should people like me fund LWOP cases if we support the DP?"

_______


I addressed this in the last round, Even if you argue that the other side is being forced to pay for that persons meals and so forth, you are also paying for their detention. You are paying for the feeling they will have every morning when they wake up and realize they will never feel the outside world because of what they did. After death people do not know consequence, they do not know right or wrong. They are relieved of their conscience and of their past. If a family who suffered from a violent crime pays for life without parole, the criminal will face that punishment for a lifetime. Also LWOP costs much less and as discussed before can be modified to absolutely keep these people in prison.

____

"Many people also complain about funding roads, when it is obviously a public good. Others oppose funding police departments because the police may oppose marijuana usage. But this does not mean the existence of public roads or a police force is immoral.

________


I don't think roads can very well be equated to a human life Con. Most people favor the roadways, police, and fire departments. There are far more who oppose the DP on a moral basis and in no way see it as a public good. I find it hard to believe you don't see any difference between funding roadways and funding the death of a human being.

_________


In closing I ask voters to consider the following: Consider the legitimacy of the numerous and conflicting studies using econometrics, Consider the reality that tax payer dollars have and will kill the innocent, Consider that as a society we condone an act that we condemn in other countries because the circumstances of the crime are viewed as more severe in their country (just as severe as murder). Consider that the DP simply isn't worth the cost to us in our current fiscal situation. Consider that the DP gives government leeway to change its definitions of what constitutes the punishment. Consider the very real possibility that criminals do not feel this deterrence before committing a crime but do feel regret after years of not knowing freedom.

________

Thank you to Con, I await your response

Debate Round No. 3
16kadams

Con

== Rebuttals ==

R1) Innocence

My opponent argues lawyers could spend more time making sure innocents are not locked up forever if there is no death penalty. But as noted last round, the death penalty leads to more plea bargains. This means in some cases the DP reduces the amount of time a prosecutor is working on a trial. Further, as being locked up in prison is seen as less extreme than execution, the discretion in those trials is likely to be less. Indeed, as the anti-death penalty Innocence Project notes, prosecutors care more about winning than the truth [1]. So really any people put on death row who are innocent would likely locked up for life no questions asked otherwise. At least the death row system has an emphasis on appeals which reduce the chances of executing an innocent person. Our LWOP system has no such safeties.

My opponent essentially argues even though the Gross study does not prove innocent people have been executed, the author thinks people have been executed. This essentially concedes that the claim is mostly hyperbole. My opponent does cite 4 examples, however. It must be noted, though, not one case of someone actually executed has been found innocent via DNA evidence. Indeed, most of the DP exonerations occurred before 1989, and in the 90s is when the DP really became widespread. If anything, this offers support for my position: that very few, if any, people in recent years have been wrongly executed. As Lott notes, the DP error rate is “less than 0.3 percent, and it is actually much lower than that, since many of the exonerations came from convictions that were made before 1989” [2].

The risk of executing an innocent is almost zero.

R2) Costs

Although the first studies I cited noted how the DP costed more (1.5 times more) it shows how plea bargains almost close the gap between DP costs and LWOP costs. And I noted how cost studies ignored multiple variables, used small sample sizes, etc. I cited research from a neutral academic noting the DP costs about the same as LWOP cases. My opponent drops this. Another study finds the cost of the DP to be 1-3 million dollars less costly than equivalent LWOP cases (assuming LWOP lasts 50 years) [3].

My opponent’s rebuttal to costs is lacking. I have provided evidence from multiple studies indicating the DP is either less costly or about the same as LWOP. So this argument fails to prove the DP should be abolished. I will put my deterrence arguments under C1 in order to avoid confusion--if I prove deterrence, I win this point.

== Defense ==

C1) Deterrence

Fagan’s point--that criminals do not respond to the death penalty--is wrong. A criminal is rational. They feel as though the benefits exceed the costs. And this is proven, in part, as to how criminals operate. Street thieves, for example, primarily kill old women. The weak [4]. There is no reason to assume murderers are different. Many murders occur in the midst of another crime. Thus, a large percentage of murderers have some rational element. It also must be noted some murderers are more intelligent than others. Premeditated murderers--which the DP is used against--tend to be fairly intelligent. As economist Joanna Shepard notes, “My results confirm that … people behave economically, weighing their actionsí costs and benefits.” [5] It also must be noted using monthly data you can pinpoint when deterrence occurs. It occurred directly after a person is executed--when it is publicized in newspapers, television, and on social media. This essentially proves the point that criminals--at least some criminals--are aware of their death penalty laws and react rationally in response. In fact, in Illinois, there are many cases of murderers telling reporters how they researched death penalty laws--and they murdered because there were no such laws [6].

My opponent drops the Ehrlich response, saying he finds it ‘humorous’. How is a scholar defending his work funny?

My opponent criticizes econometric methods. But what must be noted is the critique occurred in 1996--after the majority of the research I am using was created. It applies only to Ehrlich. However, in 1999, Ehrlich and Liu published a study with totally different methodology. The study continued to find a deterrent effect [7].

Con also cites a lot of research claiming to find no effect. But much of this other research is extremely flawed. As Ehrlich notes, “In their efforts to obscure the empirical findings, they have selectively deleted observations, utilized an inferior regression specification, considered irrelevant variables and correlations, and revealed in the process misunderstanding of elementary statistical concepts” (emphasis added) [8].

Specifically in response to Passel and Taylor, it must be noted their study actually failed to recalculate FBI data. The FBI updated their data in the time frame of their study, and the FBI’s recalculations had a profound effect on the crime rate. Ehrlich is one of the only scholars who adjusted for these, his opponents often did not do so. His research more accurately depicts how the death penalty influences the crime rate. These other studies do not [9].

My opponent's Cloninger point really doesn’t harm my case. He admits his study is not bulletproof, but does suggest any neutral observer should take into account his findings. That quote fails to take into account the most recent studies. John Lott has actually determined the rise in the usage of the DP is responsible for 12-14% of the large homicide drop in the 90s. As Lott notes, “The vast majority of recent scholarly research confirms this deterrent effect” [10].

Now my opponent cites the NAS panel and cites it as if it is flawless. But the authors were nearly all criminologists--again, who do not understand econometrics--and all oppose the death penalty. And even then, although they claim methodology is lacking, admit there is some evidence of a deterrent effect. It also must be noted the NAS panel excluded 8 peer-reviewed studies for no good reason which found a deterrent effect. It ignored one finding no effect, and it ignored another non-peer reviewed study finding a deterrent effect. Thus, the NAS panel ignored 9 studies showing a deterrent effect! It only ignored one claiming no effect--though that study only looked into mass shootings. As Lott notes, “No explanation is provided for why these studies are excluded” [11]. In other words, the panel unjustly leaves out about half of the evidence proving a deterrent effect and concluded the DP may deter crime, but the evidence is weak. Of course that happens if you ignore the evidence! The NAS study also does not point out the methodological weaknesses in those claiming no effect. It accepts those almost uncritically. Studies claiming no effect often do not measure the execution rate correctly [11]. So this NAS panel really seems to be ideologically driven.



To say 100% said the DP deterred *some* is an accurate conclusion. I did not say it deterred more than LWOP according to the study--merely that it had *some* effect. The article actually provides evidence, however, that the criminologist conclusion that LWOP is a stronger deterrent is false. The first is plea bargains. As criminals plead guilty more often in order to avoid death and instead get life sentences [12], that shows evidence that criminals fear death more than life. The conclusion the study found was (1) The DP deters some, and (2) Although criminologists favor LWOP, actual evidence suggests the DP is a stronger deterrent. And it is the evidence which matters, not expert opinion. And the evidenceshows the DP is a deterrent.

C2) Recidivism

My opponent wishes for an overhaul of the LWOP system. But if he does this, his entire case falls apart. If he can waive arguments by saying ‘reform it’, then both innocents and costs become a non-issue as we can reform both. So that means he has no arguments for abolition, and loses the debate. And if we do mend LWOP--they’re in there forever--the LWOP system is just as bad as the DP. Innocents get locked up forever and no rehabilitation is attempted. His reforms are just a DP system in another name.

C3) Justice

I could respond in the same way: you are paying for his death and he never sees light again. Isn’t that great?! The fact is, I don’t want to pay for them to be detained, I want them strung up. So his point really is a two way street.

His next response is that roads are not comparable to human life. I never said they were. But the fact is your argument is NOT about life, but about people’s pocketbook. So the comparison in this instance is correct. Pro then states more people oppose the DP. If you think taxes are stealing, then robbing from anyone is immoral. So if even one person opposes the police or roadways, then the are immoral. But they are good because they provide a public good--safety and ease of transportation. The DP offers justice to those harmed, and prevents other innocents from dying via deterrence and incapacitation.

My opponent drops my R1 arguments in relation to justice.

== Conclusion ==

(1) DP deters crime and saves lives
(2) DP costs about the same as LWOP
(3) DP saves more innocents than it takes away, and it is debatable as to how many people are actually innocent and executed--it is all speculation
(4) DP is just (R1), and Con’s rebuttals to that point are weak.

    Vote Con.

    1. http://goo.gl...

    2. http://goo.gl...

    3. http://goo.gl...

    4. http://goo.gl...

    5. http://goo.gl...

    6. http://goo.gl...

    7. Isaac Ehrlich and Zhiqiang Liu. “Sensitivity Analyses of the Deterrence Hypothesis: Let's Keep the Econ in Econometrics.” Journal of Law & Economics, Vol. 42, No. 1 (1999): 455-87.

    8. Issaac Ehrlich. “Deterrence: Evidence and Inference.” Yale Law Journal Vol. 85, No. 2 (1975).

    9. Isaac Ehrlich. “The Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment: Reply.” The American Economic Review , Vol. 67, No. 3 (1977).

    10. John Lott. Freedomnomics, pp 135.

    11. http://goo.gl...

    12. http://goo.gl...

    miketheman1200

    Pro

    Last round focusing on more rebuttals and a few more mentionable points.
    ____
    "At least the death row system has an emphasis on appeals which reduce the chances of executing an innocent person. Our LWOP system has no such safeties".


    My opponent seems to miss the point entirely. If there was no death penalty, lawyers would have more time and resources to review any evidence that appears in a LWOP case. It's a fact. Right now, as pointed out earlier, almost all the time of a defense lawyer is spent on death row cases. This means with a death penalty in place, many more inmates will be unjustly kept in prison.

    ____
    My opponent does cite 4 examples, however. It must be noted, though, not one case of someone actually executed has been found innocent via DNA evidence. Indeed, most of the DP exoneration's occurred before 1989, and in the 90s is when the DP really became widespread. If anything, this offers support for my position: that very few, if any, people in recent years have been wrongly executed. As Lott notes, the DP error rate is “less than 0.3 percent, and it is actually much lower than that, since many of the exoneration's came from convictions that were made before 1989” [2].


    This is just flat out wrong. My opponent mentions that none of them were exonerated. This, in many of the cases, was in spite of the DNA evidence. My opponent seems to forgets who does the exonerating. Of course States that accidentally kill people who are innocent are going to criticize and undermine evidence pointing it out. All the while he is still comfortable with the risk of killing an innocent because he feels its unlikely.

    ____

    "it shows how plea bargains almost close the gap between DP costs and LWOP costs"


    My opponents entire argument for this round has come from a single source which I must believe is estimating costs once again, on very selective amounts of information. In terms of cost, all the numbers present in Cons source are wonderful, but they are generated by a group called Pro Death Penalty .com. Numerous State legislature committees have done cost analysis on their states death penalty cases and overall costs to the state each year. These numbers are up to the year 2014. Each state found on average the death penalty cases cost much more even with plea bargains leading to a different sentencing.

    http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...

    New York since introducing the death penalty has wasted 170 millions dollars on sentencing without executing a single person.

    __

    California has spent 4 billion dollars executing 13 people. They spend millions a year to house and legally manage their enormous death row populace of over 700 inmates.

    __

    In my home state of Maryland the base cost of the death penalty before an inmates stay in prison is approximately 1.9 million dollars. - http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...

    __

    The high cost of capital punishment has literally forced many counties to raise taxes or cut funds to public projects according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. - http://www.nber.org...

    I guess human lives have some relation to roads after all.

    ___

    According to a committee formed by the Indiana state legislature the death penalty costs 38% more than a LWOP sentence.

    ____

    Consider also the 150 inmates who were exonerated still alive. Take account the average cost of their cases being 1.5 million dollars. 225 million dollars spent to convict innocent people. The average time they spent behind bars was 11 years.

    ____

    States that have huge death row populations have been able to admit the financial burden based on their own numbers. I'll continue to take their word for it.

    ____

    "C1) Deterrence"

    "agan’s point--that criminals do not respond to the death penalty--is wrong. A criminal is rational. They feel as though the benefits exceed the costs. And this is proved, in part, as to how criminals operate."

    Con, that right there is a statement. For it to be an argument you must produce evidence or some sort of verifiable support to that statement. Unfortunately for you there is no existing study that has ever determined your statement to be the truth. You cite Shepards remarks on how to tell when deterrence occurred. The reality is that you cannot determine objectively that deterrence occurred. You can determine that in a certain time frame there is less or more crime. To say that deterrence occurred is purely speculative and that's all it can ever be if you rely on arbitrary fluctuating numbers. I might add that those numbers are exactly why people who use your model in finding deterrence end up with different results based on their agenda/bias etc.

    _____

    "My opponent criticizes econometric methods. But what must be noted is the critique occurred in 1996--after the majority of the research I am using was created. It applies only to Ehrlich. However, in 1999, Ehrlich and Liu published a study with totally different methodology. The study continued to find a deterrent effect"

    I'm sorry con but the most recent study done in 2012 by the National Research Council has also determined the faulty of deterrence models and has stated that the findings done by any econometrician, whether in favor or against the death penalty, should not be used to influence public policy the main faulty in summary being that, "they use incomplete or implausible models of potential murderers’ perceptions of and response to the capital punishment component of a sanction regime. In addition, the existing studies use strong and unverifiable assumptions to identify the effects of capital punishment on homicides."

    Let me remind the voters that the NRC was disappointed with these findings stating that, "The committee was disappointed to reach the conclusion that research conducted in the 30 years since the earlier NRC report has not sufficiently advanced knowledge to allow a conclusion, however qualified, about the effect of the death penalty on homicide rates."

    Essentially they are saying based on the evidence available we cant claim there is any deterrence effect. They also claim that using similar models to the ones con has provided we cannot determine there is not effect. It is as I have said, indeterminable.

    http://www.nap.edu...

    ___

    "My opponent wishes for an overhaul of the LWOP system. But if he does this, his entire case falls apart. If he can waive arguments by saying ‘reform it’, then both innocents and costs become a non-issue as we can reform both. So that means he has no arguments for abolition, and loses the debate. And if we do mend LWOP--they’re in there forever--the LWOP system is just as bad as the DP. Innocents get locked up forever and no rehabilitation is attempted. His reforms are just a DP system in another name."


    No con, my intention is not to "waive" the argument. My intention is to point out that just as reforms can be made to the death penalty to prevent wrongful convictions or execution, reforms can be made to LWOP to ensure no possibility of recidivism for those convicted. I'm saying its just as possible as the death penalty being a perfect sentencing.

    ___

    " I could respond in the same way: you are paying for his death and he never sees light again. Isn’t that great?! The fact is, I don’t want to pay for them to be detained, I want them strung up. So his point really is a two way street. "

    Con claims that my point is a two way street because he can word his reasoning similar to mine. This is a fundamentally flawed argument because it assumes wording is what makes the argument substantive. My point firstly being that a lifetime of never knowing freedom is better than only a decade of not knowing freedom based on how long it takes to be executed (in some of the faster circumstances). Con I was making the point that once they die, all the consequence they know is gone. As long as they are conscious they can experience their punishment and paying for them to rot in jail for a lifetime to regret and to grieve their lost life is a much more appropriate punishment than death. In my eyes death is too merciful a punishment. :)

    ___

    "Pro then states more people oppose the DP"


    I did not say this at all. I said there are millions in the United States who find the execution of a human being immoral and abhorrent.

    ___

    "My opponent drops my R1 arguments in relation to justice."


    Con, when we as a society condone the killing of another human being, we condone the idea perpetuated by murderers which is that there are circumstances in which it is ok to kill a human being who is not an immediate danger to us. The only morally justified harm that can be brought to someone is in defense of your life, liberty, and property. A prisoner cannot take those away from you once they are behind bars.

    ___

    Con at one point said criminologists don't know enough about the death penalty.

    Criminology definition: The scientific study of criminals, criminal behavior, and corrections.

    I don't know. I feel like they might actually have some bearing on the subject con.

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com...

    In Conclusion:

    (1) Deterrence has been proved indeterminable by a non partisan group.

    (2) DP can (and has)cost states much more money than LWOP and at the very least have disrupted funds necessary for other things in local cities and counties.

    (3) Taxpayer dollars have gone to incarcerating and ultimately executing innocent Americans. Cons response to this was that if the government says nuh uh then it didn't happen.

    (4) Government shouldn't be given the precedent to kill its citizenry when they don't present an immediate threat.

    (5) For these reasons the death penalty should be abolished.

    ___

    really enjoyed this debate and I want to thank 16Kadams for making a good one!

    Have some Creedence:

    https://www.youtube.com...

    Debate Round No. 4
    20 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
    Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
    whiteflame
    Well, that's disappointing. I thought this debate deserved more votes, especially considering it was pretty high quality. Oh well.
    Posted by 16kadams 1 year ago
    16kadams
    Sure
    Posted by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 1 year ago
    F-16_Fighting_Falcon
    Or even more specifically focussing in on just one study - like Ehrlich's.
    Posted by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 1 year ago
    F-16_Fighting_Falcon
    "I could do a debate on deterrence alone."

    This would be fun.
    Posted by miketheman1200 1 year ago
    miketheman1200
    "well I mean not that many innocent people are killed"

    Gotta love it.
    Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
    whiteflame
    RFD (Pt. 1):

    So, this was a pretty good debate overall. I feel both sides had a number of strong points, and that they were usually well argued. Before I start getting into those arguments, however, I'm going to do a bit of an overview to point out where I see the deficits in this debate, whether from both sides or just one.

    Overview:

    Weighing " I think this is a problem with both debaters. The scope of arguments in this debate is pretty broad: cost, justice, and lives. How do I compare those three issues? If one side is winning on costs, and another side is winning on justice, how do I determine the winner? This is a problem I have in judging this debate because there's really no way for me to determine the weight of these points beyond my own basic assumptions. I can see points being made that link lives to costs, so lives do appear to outweigh, but I still can't determine what role justice plays in the debate. Why should I care more about the value of justice to society than I do about basic lives lost? I'm not really given an answer on that front, and the case of both debaters (but especially Con's) are hampered by it.

    Formatting " I can't complain about Con's formatting since he compartmentalizes all of the arguments in the debate quite well. I have to speak up about Pro's, though. R2 is just a mess of points, with Pro circling back to several arguments multiple times in order to clarify the full point. Generally, I dislike the system of dashes you put in between points, especially as it's not always clear why they are there to separate points. The problem gets lesser as the rounds continue, since Pro starts to directly quote Con and provide responses, but that just ends up making Pro's responses clear, which is especially strange as he adds new arguments as though they are direct rebuttals. Word to the wise: put your points under united headings, and keep to a specific format. It doesn't have to mirror your opponent's, but it should be as clear as
    Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
    whiteflame
    (Pt. 2)

    Points in the final round " Admittedly, there's some uncertainty here. Both sides provide a lot of new sources in the final round, which reveals that you were both much more focused on rebuttals than you were on crystallizing your arguments (something that brought about the weighing problem and generally makes this debate harder to judge), but it's not necessarily providing new arguments, so it's fine as long as each of you is using those sources to shore up previous arguments....

    ...This isn't always the case. For example, Pro spends a large amount of space specifying costs in numerous states for instituting the death penalty and, at long last, finally putting an impact to this argument (in the point that countries raise taxes or cut funds to public projects). These are all new points. Sure, Pro argued in previous rounds that costs are an issue and gave an overarching argument regarding costs in R2, but all of these pieces to Pro's arguments are new in the final round, leaving no space for Con to rebut them. Admittedly, you are allowed to present new evidence and expand on some arguments in the final round, but placing a brand new impact and modifying the scope of your argument so dramatically after spending literally 2 sentences on cost in R3 concerns me. The problem is more blatant when Pro provides a new rebuttal to Con's justice point in R4, making a point about immediate danger and the lack of justice inherent to killing someone who's not a threat. This argument just gets stricken from my flow because I never see it anywhere else. Be careful " you're already limiting your space by quoting your opponent so much, so don't further reduce the amount you have by making new arguments in the final round.

    Alright, with that said, I'm now going to launch into the points themselves. There's really only one key argument that gets the most rebuttal, so I'm going to save deterrence for last and go through the other points first.
    Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
    whiteflame
    (Pt. 3)

    1) Innocence

    So this point actually breaks down into two arguments. The first of these is that the death penalty kills innocent people, and the second is that the death penalty takes too much time away from lawyers that could be used for the purpose of reviewing evidence. The points are linked, but there's also a delineation made between them, so I'll try to address them separately here.

    I'll address the latter point first. The problem I have with this point is that the scenario is somewhat implausible. It makes sense at first blush " if someone isn't executed, then logically their case has more time to be reviewed, and as such can be dismissed if it's found to be faulty. But that's not enough. I need to know that, in LWOP cases, lawyers are really taking the time to further review them rather than simply moving onto other cases. Just because they could be spending more time on the LWOP cases doesn't mean they're going to. In the meantime, I'm getting the point from Con that the appeals system is in place to spend a great deal of time reviewing these cases and analyzing them deeply over the course of a decade. I don't doubt that some cases still slip through the cracks, but I don't see the argument being made clearly by Pro that, in a society where LWOP is the most severe option, the appeals system will be used so extensively, or that the case will even be pursued anywhere near as strongly over the same period of time. I get that Pro's case allows new evidence to come forward for much longer than a decade, but I'm unclear on how often this happens, and all I get is a general "well, it might" and a couple of anecdotes that may or may not actually showcase problems with the current system, since all of them seem somewhat dated.
    Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
    whiteflame
    (Pt. 4)

    Even if I do buy those examples, though, I'm left with very few lives lost. Con gives me the majority of the relevant statistics on this, which isn't good for Pro since that leaves me buying that it's a very small number. That matters, but I'm not sure how much. I don't get any real impact analysis on this. I know a general "innocents being killed is bad" isn't necessary here, but I'd have liked to see a discussion on innocent before proven guilty and a government literally doling out death to people whose due process has been violated, in particular with regards to minority communities. Pro really fails to build a solid impact from this argument, and so all I'm left with is a small death toll. It's a win for him, but not one I'm able to give him much credit for.

    2) Cost

    Not going to spend much time here. This point is a mess, partially because of all the new evidence in Pro's final round, and partially because of his dropping Con's R3 sources on the costs being relatively even or perhaps less. I'm buying the point that any deterrence effect would defeat costs, which I'll get to on deterrence. I'm surprised Con didn't extend that same analysis to recidivism, but that was his choice. What this argument does tell me, though, and what I'm buying, is that deaths tend to involve large costs and that, therefore, I might as well care a whole lot more about them than I do about direct costs of implementation. Pro only gives me a unique reason to prefer direct costs in the final round, so I treat costs as a relatively minimal issue, and it's mainly dependent on how deterrence pans out.
    Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
    whiteflame
    (Pt. 5)

    3) Recidivism

    I'm surprised that so little time is spent here after Con's R2. This is a big point " a really big point. It might not be as big as deterrence for impact, but Con gives me the numbers pretty clearly, and even on the low end, it's a big deal. Those numbers come up at far larger than the number of innocents killed directly by the death penalty, so if successful, this argument outstrips that quite easily.

    Which is why I'm concerned that the only response Pro gives me is a "reform" counter plan without any substance to it. He tells me that we can modify how the LWOP sentence is doled out, and thus ensure that these prisoners aren't released from prison. That's not very specific, though. I'm not given a threshold for which prisoners will get these harsher sentences and I don't have any idea what the appeals system for this would look like.

    This leads me to some concerns.

    On the one hand, I could look at this reform as remaining rather loose, allowing for the status quo sentencing to continue with only some prisoners getting the harsher sentences if they're obviously dangerous. But that really doesn't erase the recidivism point, it just slightly reduces its impact, and I'm not sure by how much either.

    On the other hand, I could look at this reform as being very tight, requiring that a very large proportion of those who get sentenced to life imprisonment don't get any chance of parole. If that's the case, then that seems to turn and supercharge the innocents argument, as Con points out. You're providing them no means by which to escape their punishment, and without any specifics as to the appeals system in place for this, it actually seems worse than the death penalty, providing almost no recourse. This view of the counter plan might deal with recidivism, but at what is perhaps a worse cost.
    2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
    Vote Placed by whiteflame 1 year ago
    whiteflame
    16kadamsmiketheman1200Tied
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    Total points awarded:30 
    Reasons for voting decision: Given in comments.
    Vote Placed by MyDinosaurHands 1 year ago
    MyDinosaurHands
    16kadamsmiketheman1200Tied
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    Total points awarded:00 
    Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments