The Instigator
QuinnCR
Con (against)
The Contender
Taking-Wing
Pro (for)

Resolved, rehabilitation ought to be valued higher than retribution in criminal justice systems.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 10/19/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 month ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 235 times Debate No: 96264
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (0)

 

QuinnCR

Con

Hello and welcome,

This debate is open for everyone, the format will be; round 1. Acceptance of challenge and your case. round 2. 1st Rebuttal of opponents case. round 3. 2nd Rebuttal and closing remarks.

The Ancient system of justice summed up into a single sentence goes something like this; An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. I will be supporting the general idea of this rule with 3 points.

1. The benefits of using punishment. This sounds a little harsh but I will give an example that shows that it is necessary. When I was in Wal-Mart the other day I saw a kid that was screaming and kicking for not getting his way. You might think that he was being treated harshly or something like that, but instead he was throwing a fit over not getting the toy he wanted. I had the same problem when I was a kid and sure you did too, what is important is that I wasn't allowed to get away with acting like that and I was punished for misbehaving. I can assure that I am a far more self controlled person now than I would be if I had gotten my way. My point in bringing up this example is that in the same way adults that get there way still don't behave properly all of the time. And the response isn't to give them their way just like it wasn't the proper response in my example. Adults just like kids need firm consequences for misbehavior. The important thing here is that the consequence is appropriate.

2. The proper response. First of all I would like to say that every situation is different as expressed in the following excerpt from a book. "The idea that wrongdoers should be "paid back" for their bad deeds need not lead to a demand for primitive vengeance.
Retributive justice requires that the punishment fit the crime and that like cases be treated alike. Wrongdoers deserve blame and punishment in direct proportion to the harm inflicted. Retribution can therefore be seen as vengeance curbed by outside intervention and the principles of proportionality and individual rights"[1].
Let me give you a more definite standing for my case. In cases of extreme violence or extreme offenses the death penalty would be appropriate. Here are some reasons; The current response to many crimes is to give people a life sentence in prison, which is incredibly inefficient. It costs over 31,000 dollars per inmate per year average according to the VERA institute for justice. Also it would give a precedent for other criminals not to attempt crimes themselves. So in an example of the Boston bomber I think that that would be an appropriate use of the death penalty. An easy standard for weather or not to use the death penalty would be if the person had killed someone as that would be a fair recompense.
However there are different responses for different crimes. For example I am an advocate for putting drug addicts through some type of program that would allow them to break their addiction. This, in my opinion is a just response, you just have to look at the circumstances.

3. why it matters. The benefits of using retribution in the criminal justice system are huge. For one the budget of housing prisoners would plummet by an immense amount. The savings could be used to pay for drug addiction programs and keep more people out of jail for drug related issues. Which would also increase the economy, because the people that were on drugs are now out of jail and working in the workforce at the same time. Therefore reducing tax payers burden and increasing the economy from extra laborers. Finally criminals that were violent have less of a chance of acting out on it because now there is a appropriate, and very unpleasant consequence.

If this country is to recover it needs many things, one of those things is the use of a system of criminal justice that is strict enough for justice but civilized enough for 1st world countries. I stand firmly on the value of retribution in criminal justice systems.

[1] Martha Minnow, Between vengeance and forgiveness, 1998, http://www.beyondintractability.org...
Taking-Wing

Pro

Hello all,

It is a pleasure to be debating today.

If I may begin...


Definitions

Rehabilitation: "to restore to a condition of good health, ability to work, or the like" [1]


Retribution: "the dispensing or receiving of reward or punishment"[2]

Justice Systems: an established department, usually maintained by a government, which interprets the law of a nation in cases of it being broken and usually ordains a penalty(ies) for the crime committed.

Resolution Analysis

The resolution makes no provision
to a certain state, nation, or country to which it applies. Thus, we debate whether or not all justice systems should favour retribution or rehabilitation.

Rehabilitation is an equivocal term. One may ponder, 'how do you rehabilitate a murderer'. I will interpret the term rehabilitate in way that implies that instead of punishing the criminal and just letting them go, the justice system will work towards preventative measures, look into why the crime was committed and not just the fact that it was committed, and will help the perpetrator work through any issues that caused the crime to be committed.

Contention I: Rehabilitation Promotes Less Crime

Before we can talk about why rehabilitation promotes less crime, we have to talk about the goal of the criminal justice system.


The purpose of the criminal justice system is to deter criminals from perpetrating crimes. Since the 1970s and the 'war on crime' ideologies that sprung from that decade, the federal government has cracked down on crime, increasing sentences and increasing the use of the death penalty. This is all to the aim of deterring potential criminals from committing crimes and ensuring that current criminals do not commit crimes again.

This, however, is not working.

The NIJ, National Institute of Justice published a report on recidivism, or one's ability relapse into crime after being released from prison. The study states that "Within three years of release, about [67.8 percent] of released prisoners were rearrested." [3]

Obviously, the criminal justice system is not doing its intended job. Those who have committed crimes keep on committing them. When criminals engage in criminal activity and are caught, they are punished by being sent to prisons with other criminals. Obviously, putting bad people with other bad people is not going to make them good.

My opponent is contending that we should punish everyone who commits a crime by putting them in prison with other criminals, which only promotes an environment of criminal activity. I certainly hope he is not stating that we should lash them in the town square or put them to the rack as punishment.

The NIJ report then goes on to state,

"The research team theorizes that although offender services and programs may have a direct effect on desistance, individuals must decide independently to transform themselves into ex-offenders. Programs and services may facilitate transformation, just as individual transformation — or the lack thereof — may moderate the effects of re-entry assistance" [1]

Thus, one can only rise above the crime one has committed via self-transformation. Putting criminals together in a hostile environment does not breed a system of self-transformation.

Now we can address why rehabilitation, in lieu of punishment, will redress crime. By putting individuals who have committed crimes through programs that increase their ability to contribute to society and educate them about their actions, one is creating a system of self-transformation. My opponent wants to throw criminals in with other criminals and hope for the best. It is a fact that repeat offenders make up the majority of internees in prisons. Thus, my opponent's system is false and is, indeed, only harming society. I propose a system wherein criminals are not placed in a dangerous and hostile environment, but are urged and guided through steps to increase their value to society, thus increasing their wellness and decreasing their likeliness to recidivate.

Thus, my system of rehabilitation ought to be valued above that of my opponent, which only values punishment.

Contention II: Methods of Rehabilitation

In his case, my opponent did not actually tell us how he is going to increase punishment. He simply spoke about the theory and left it standing. I shall not commit such a fallacy.


My opponent seems to think that simply increasing the death penalty and increasing incarceration rates will decrease crime. I have already debunked this theory in my initial contention. However, I have not told you how I intend to rehabilitate criminals and lessen crime. You see, we can talk theory all day, but the real meat of the issue comes in when we talk about the facts of the matter. And the facts yield to the rehabilitation system I propose

The three pillars of my system:

1. Increase Academic Programs in Incarceration

I do not propose to let those who have committed crimes go completely unpunished; we still need a system that detains them and forces them to think about and regret their actions. Additionally, murderers and other high-level criminals must not be allowed to harm more people.

However, the overwhelming majority of inmates are in prison for low-level crimes. According to a graph by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, nearly fifty percent of all criminals are incarcerated due to drug offenses [4]. With the next highest category, nearly seventeen percent, being incarcerated for weapon and arson crimes (non-lethal). Obviously, these are crimes that need to be punished. However, if we simply put them in with others who committed similar or even worse crimes, we will not be improving them and will only be decreasing their likeliness of succeeding.

I propose that we put forward educational and academic programs to evolve these men and women from criminals to functioning members of society.

By granting these people the ability to become educated and possibly even earn a degree, the justice system would be turning them away from the life of crime they had been pursuing and towards one ultimately better and more profitable.

2. Improve Community Outreach

Instead of portraying the justice system as an us vs. you situation, engaging inmates in the community and increasing a positive presence of the police and justice systems in communities would form a rehabilitative and constructive relationship.

Obviously, precautions must be taken when exposing criminals to the community, but that idea that men and women in prison are nothing but animals to be chained up is a result of the retributive system we have in place.

By subjecting criminals to the inhumane and often cruel conditions of prison, we often begin to view them as non-human. This makes it difficult and even impossible for ex-convicts to get jobs or participate in society.

By increasing the presence of the men and women incarcerated in the community, we would be showing society that criminals are not all mindless, self-centered, and apathetic. Instead, they are people too, who have been driven to extremes and need rehabilitative aid to get them back on track.

My opponent is advocating locking criminals up for an even more extending period of time, widening the already gaping divide between society and those who have committed crimes. Instead of helping even low-level offenders get back on track, my opponent wants to eliminate almost all chance of them getting back on their feet and helping society and the world. With my proposed rehabilitative programs, we would help convicts be reintegrated into society. My opponent, however, simply wants to throw away all offenders under the pretense that 'they've learned their lesson'.

3. Reduce Hostility of Environment

The last and final aspect of my plan for rehabilitation is that which advocates making a more friendly and less hostile environment for convicts. Prison is often a dangerous place. Gang and racial violence are proliferate and the confined space often causes tensions to rise quickly and violently.

By increasing education programs and community involvement, the environment is guaranteed to ease. However, by adding clubs, work options, and more activities, the violence so associated with prison can be eliminated.


I want to assure you all that I do not want to turn prison into a comfortable life. Prison is meant to be a punishment. However, by educating inmates and making them able to function in society when they get out, we can make prisons a benefit rather than a harm. Prisons, as they are, only spawn more crime, violence, and animosity. By improving the mental and physical conditions of prisons and inmates, we can eliminate unnecessary violence and prepare prisoners for reintegration into society.

Conclusion

As we see, the current state of the justice system is abhorrent. Convicts are being thrown in with other criminals, creating a hostile and crime-causing environment. My opponent would suggest that the justice system
value this form of punishment even more. I detest and contend this ideology. We should punish criminals; prison should not be a relaxing experience. However, we must face the reality that the majority of inmates will be getting out someday. When they do get out, do we want them to be men and women who have been corrupted by evil in prison and who are induced to commit further crimes? Or do we want them to be ready to function in society as normal human beings?


[1] http://www.dictionary.com...;
[2] http://www.merriam-webster.com...;
[3] http://www.nij.gov...
[4] https://www.bop.gov...

Debate Round No. 1
QuinnCR

Con

I am sorry but could you change your font or translate or something because I cannot read your arguments, and google translate won't work.
Taking-Wing

Pro

Hello all,

It is a pleasure to be debating today.

If I may begin...


Definitions

Rehabilitation: "to restore to a condition of good health, ability to work, or the like" [1]


Retribution: "the dispensing or receiving of reward or punishment"[2]

Justice Systems: an established department, usually maintained by a government, which interprets the law of a nation in cases of it being broken and usually ordains a penalty(ies) for the crime committed.

Resolution Analysis

The resolution makes no provision
to a certain state, nation, or country to which it applies. Thus, we debate whether or not all justice systems should favour retribution or rehabilitation.

Rehabilitation is an equivocal term. One may ponder, 'how do you rehabilitate a murderer'. I will interpret the term rehabilitate in way that implies that instead of punishing the criminal and just letting them go, the justice system will work towards preventative measures, look into why the crime was committed and not just the fact that it was committed, and will help the perpetrator work through any issues that caused the crime to be committed.

Contention I: Rehabilitation Promotes Less Crime

Before we can talk about why rehabilitation promotes less crime, we have to talk about the goal of the criminal justice system.


The purpose of the criminal justice system is to deter criminals from perpetrating crimes. Since the 1970s and the 'war on crime' ideologies that sprung from that decade, the federal government has cracked down on crime, increasing sentences and increasing the use of the death penalty. This is all to the aim of deterring potential criminals from committing crimes and ensuring that current criminals do not commit crimes again.

This, however, is not working.

The NIJ, National Institute of Justice published a report on recidivism, or one's ability relapse into crime after being released from prison. The study states that "Within three years of release, about [67.8 percent] of released prisoners were rearrested." [3]

Obviously, the criminal justice system is not doing its intended job. Those who have committed crimes keep on committing them. When criminals engage in criminal activity and are caught, they are punished by being sent to prisons with other criminals. Obviously, putting bad people with other bad people is not going to make them good.

My opponent is contending that we should punish everyone who commits a crime by putting them in prison with other criminals, which only promotes an environment of criminal activity. I certainly hope he is not stating that we should lash them in the town square or put them to the rack as punishment.

The NIJ report then goes on to state,

"The research team theorizes that although offender services and programs may have a direct effect on desistance, individuals must decide independently to transform themselves into ex-offenders. Programs and services may facilitate transformation, just as individual transformation — or the lack thereof — may moderate the effects of re-entry assistance" [1]

Thus, one can only rise above the crime one has committed via self-transformation. Putting criminals together in a hostile environment does not breed a system of self-transformation.

Now we can address why rehabilitation, in lieu of punishment, will redress crime. By putting individuals who have committed crimes through programs that increase their ability to contribute to society and educate them about their actions, one is creating a system of self-transformation. My opponent wants to throw criminals in with other criminals and hope for the best. It is a fact that repeat offenders make up the majority of internees in prisons. Thus, my opponent's system is false and is, indeed, only harming society. I propose a system wherein criminals are not placed in a dangerous and hostile environment, but are urged and guided through steps to increase their value to society, thus increasing their wellness and decreasing their likeliness to recidivate.

Thus, my system of rehabilitation ought to be valued above that of my opponent, which only values punishment.

Contention II: Methods of Rehabilitation

In his case, my opponent did not actually tell us how he is going to increase punishment. He simply spoke about the theory and left it standing. I shall not commit such a fallacy.


My opponent seems to think that simply increasing the death penalty and increasing incarceration rates will decrease crime. I have already debunked this theory in my initial contention. However, I have not told you how I intend to rehabilitate criminals and lessen crime. You see, we can talk theory all day, but the real meat of the issue comes in when we talk about the facts of the matter. And the facts yield to the rehabilitation system I propose

The three pillars of my system:

1. Increase Academic Programs in Incarceration

I do not propose to let those who have committed crimes go completely unpunished; we still need a system that detains them and forces them to think about and regret their actions. Additionally, murderers and other high-level criminals must not be allowed to harm more people.

However, the overwhelming majority of inmates are in prison for low-level crimes. According to a graph by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, nearly fifty percent of all criminals are incarcerated due to drug offenses [4]. With the next highest category, nearly seventeen percent, being incarcerated for weapon and arson crimes (non-lethal). Obviously, these are crimes that need to be punished. However, if we simply put them in with others who committed similar or even worse crimes, we will not be improving them and will only be decreasing their likeliness of succeeding.

I propose that we put forward educational and academic programs to evolve these men and women from criminals to functioning members of society.

By granting these people the ability to become educated and possibly even earn a degree, the justice system would be turning them away from the life of crime they had been pursuing and towards one ultimately better and more profitable.

2. Improve Community Outreach

Instead of portraying the justice system as an us vs. you situation, engaging inmates in the community and increasing a positive presence of the police and justice systems in communities would form a rehabilitative and constructive relationship.

Obviously, precautions must be taken when exposing criminals to the community, but that idea that men and women in prison are nothing but animals to be chained up is a result of the retributive system we have in place.

By subjecting criminals to the inhumane and often cruel conditions of prison, we often begin to view them as non-human. This makes it difficult and even impossible for ex-convicts to get jobs or participate in society.

By increasing the presence of the men and women incarcerated in the community, we would be showing society that criminals are not all mindless, self-centered, and apathetic. Instead, they are people too, who have been driven to extremes and need rehabilitative aid to get them back on track.

My opponent is advocating locking criminals up for an even more extending period of time, widening the already gaping divide between society and those who have committed crimes. Instead of helping even low-level offenders get back on track, my opponent wants to eliminate almost all chance of them getting back on their feet and helping society and the world. With my proposed rehabilitative programs, we would help convicts be reintegrated into society. My opponent, however, simply wants to throw away all offenders under the pretense that 'they've learned their lesson'.

3. Reduce Hostility of Environment

The last and final aspect of my plan for rehabilitation is that which advocates making a more friendly and less hostile environment for convicts. Prison is often a dangerous place. Gang and racial violence are proliferate and the confined space often causes tensions to rise quickly and violently.

By increasing education programs and community involvement, the environment is guaranteed to ease. However, by adding clubs, work options, and more activities, the violence so associated with prison can be eliminated.


I want to assure you all that I do not want to turn prison into a comfortable life. Prison is meant to be a punishment. However, by educating inmates and making them able to function in society when they get out, we can make prisons a benefit rather than a harm. Prisons, as they are, only spawn more crime, violence, and animosity. By improving the mental and physical conditions of prisons and inmates, we can eliminate unnecessary violence and prepare prisoners for reintegration into society.

Conclusion

As we see, the current state of the justice system is abhorrent. Convicts are being thrown in with other criminals, creating a hostile and crime-causing environment. My opponent would suggest that the justice system
value this form of punishment even more. I detest and contend this ideology. We should punish criminals; prison should not be a relaxing experience. However, we must face the reality that the majority of inmates will be getting out someday. When they do get out, do we want them to be men and women who have been corrupted by evil in prison and who are induced to commit further crimes? Or do we want them to be ready to function in society as normal human beings?


[1] http://www.dictionary.com......;
[2] http://www.merriam-webster.com......;
[3] http://www.nij.gov......
[4] https://www.bop.gov......
Debate Round No. 2
QuinnCR

Con

Sorry for any inconvenience the debate format has caused because I couldn't translate your arguments.

Since this is the final round I will do two main things. First I will address my opponent's arguments and then give some main reasons for an affirmative vote.

In my opponents resolutional analysis he states,"'how do you rehabilitate a murderer.'." This is one area where my opponents arguments are flawed, as you do not rehabilitate a murderer. In every justice system, murder was punished with death until somewhere in the 1700th century. It is also noted that even the Christian emperor Constantine didn't abolish the death penalty, only cruel versions of crucifixion.[1] Rehabilitation doesn't work in most circumstances. Notice that the resolution states that, "Rehabilitation ought to be valued higher than Retribution." In other words It means that neither my opponent nor I need to contend that, "in all cases," our side is correct. With that in mind I will respond to my opponent's first contention.

In his case, my opponent makes the claim that the death penalty has been used more since the 1970s and while I note that there is no source for this argument, I also see that this is subjective. What is the standard that allows for an increase in death penalty usage. If my opponent was using the previous decade or two for his study, he would probably be correct. However If you look back through the last few centuries you will see a decrease in the use of the death penalty, as it stayed relatively consistent according to population.[2]

This brings me to a major point that my opponent misunderstood. He stated that I would promote the increase in use of prisons and prison sentences. While I may approve retribution I don't approve prisons. You may be wondering,"how on earth do you get rid of the prison system?" A famous proverb, "If you don't learn from the past or you will be destined to repeat it," shows that history should be the starting point for important decisions. Therefore, my model is of instant punishment. For my example I will use the English. For instance if you were to commit a petty crime, like minor theft, you would be put in the stocks and be kept there for a day. Notice the incentives to not be put in the stocks. First, you would be uncomfortable and subject to the weather. Second, you would be pelted with random articles including rotten vegetables. Third, your name would be a shame to both you and anyone you know. While I am not suggesting bringing back the stocks necessarily, it is a good example of how retribution is better than rehabilitation. To sum up this argument you either have to have a punishment harsh enough, or a rehabilitative system great enough to get the behavior change you need.

Later on in his first point he stays in essence that rehabilitation systems should be used for everyone besides murderers. I agree with a limited us of rehabilitation for very few crimes, but to use it on everyone would cost an immense amount. Standard drug rehab centers charge between 10 and 20 thousand, per month! That is 4 times as much as holding a inmate for the same period.[3]

My opponent said that I did not give specifics on how I was going to Increase punishment, he is correct. While I think that it is my job as the negative to give a general idea, the resolution says, "should be valued," not,"give a solution". My job is not to make the specific laws, it is to debate the value of retribution vs. Rehabilitation. Therefore my opponent unwittingly affirmed that I properly used the resolution in my case.

In point one of my opponent's second contention he states that rehabilitation should be used after both; The criminals have had time in prison, and the murderers and high-level criminals have been punished. It seems that not only does my opponent's view have a lot of loopholes, but the prison system will still be a heavily used system. Something that will not decrease the violence, recidivism, or economic strain; The first two which my opponent mentioned.

Finally in his third point of his second contention, he states that the prisons are flawed and would need MORE money spent on them to increase success of his program.

Now that I have hopefully addressed all of my opponents arguments I will give you, readers some primary reasons for voting negative in this debate.

1. Criminals should be punished in accordance with the crime that they have committed, as stated in my first speech from a quote,"The idea that wrongdoers should be "paid back" for their bad deeds need not lead to a demand for primitive vengeance. Retributive justice requires that the punishment fit the crime and that like cases be treated alike. Wrongdoers deserve blame and punishment in direct proportion to the harm inflicted. Retribution can therefore be seen as vengeance curbed by outside intervention and the principles of proportionality and individual rights."[4]

2. Punishments should affect the criminal into behaving properly, as in the example of the stocks.

3. Retribution is important in all aspects, even in the economic realm.

I hope that this debate will be enlightening, entertaining and For lack of another,"e" word, thought provoking. I am pleased with the arguments addressed and with the opponent's knowledge on the issue. Thank you for a very good, if not short, debate!

[1]http://www.pbs.org...
[2]http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
[3]http://www.rehabs.com...
[4] Martha Minnow, Between vengeance and forgiveness
This round has not been posted yet.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Silandur 1 month ago
Silandur
If anyone wants to contact me, I have changed accounts to Silandur as my profile name, thank you.
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