The Instigator
zachdebate727
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
bobhi
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points

Retribution ought to be valued above rehabilitation in the United states criminal justice system

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/10/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 7,135 times Debate No: 28045
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (0)

 

zachdebate727

Con

"When rehabilitation works, there is no question that it is the best and most productive use of the correctional system. It stands to reason: if we can take a bad guy and turn him into a good guy and then let him out, then that"s one fewer bad guy to harm us. . . "
-John E. Douglas
Resolved: Rehabilitation ought to be valued above retribution in the United States criminal justice system.
Before we begin, I would like to provide some definitions, courtesy of Merriam-Webster:
I: Rehabilitation: to restore to a former capacity or state of mind
II: Ought: strongly advised
III: Retribution: to give something in way of punishment
IV: United States Criminal Justice System: the collection of laws, courts, and prisons that have the purpose of reducing harm to the society
My value is Equality and my criterion is Ethical Relativism
V: Equality: The condition of being treated the same as others in society; the states of achieving balance.
VI: Ethical Relativism: A theory which holds that the rightness or wrongness of an act is relative to the attitudes and beliefs of the person judging the act.
Contention 1: Retribution increases crime rate across the nation
Sub-point A: Jenson and Howard outline two perspectives on the relationship between public policy and youth crime. From their analysis, youth crime rates fluctuate completely, independent of changes in public policy. The retribution system obviously has not worked out in the past. That"s why we need to consider reform in the system. We have a system in which two thirds of prisoners are re‐offending within two years. When you think that this is a prison system upon which we spend nearly $32,000 a year, it's a very poor return. Because our system is based on punishment rather than rehabilitation, we are simply creating a permanent conveyor belt of crime and offending, which in turn leads to prison overcrowding. People released from prison end up back there because they are not helped to integrate back into society. The best way to do that is for them to get a job, but our current legislation only allows for criminal records to be expunged after at least 10 years. It makes it impossible for former prisoners to get jobs because if they are given an interview they are forced to admit that they have a criminal record. No one will then employ them, and they are dragged back into a life of crime.
Contention 2: Rehabilitation costs less than retribution
Sub-point A: It is an often cited fact that this country spends $45,000 a year on each prisoner and yet 50% will go on to reoffend, which translates as a dead investment of $2 billion annually when retribution is used.
Sub-point B: This means simply that prison isn"t working. To even begin addressing this problem we need to not only change our policy direction, but wholly transform the culture of how Government delivers rehabilitation services. This does not mean we need to lock offenders up and throw away the key, and this is where the Government should really make their mark on a new kind of justice policy.

Contention 3: Rehabilitation is beneficial to the prisoner
Sub-point A: Reaching out to first-time offenders with rehabilitation programs will make a difference. Instead of leaving them in cells all day, teach them. Make it a condition of their release and then the prisons can make a difference. Rehabilitation should not just be a goal, but the goal, of imprisonment. It makes little sense to believe that stripping human beings of respect and dignity and justifying that treatment by virtue of their "criminality" will produce people capable of contributing in a positive way to society once released.
Contention 4: Rehabilitation has greater regard for the offender
Sub-point A: Rehabilitation has another important value " it recognizes the reality of social inequity. To say that some offenders need help to be rehabilitated is to accept the idea that circumstances can constrain, if not compel, and lead to criminality; it admits that we can help unfortunate persons who have been overcome by their circumstance. It rejects the idea that individuals, regardless of their position in the social order, exercise equal freedom in deciding whether to commit a crime, and should be punished equally according to their offence, irrespective of their social backgrounds. Prisons are little more than schools of crime if there aren't any rehabilitation programs. Prisons isolate offenders from their families and friends so that when they are released their social networks tend to be made up largely of those whom they met in prison. As well as sharing ideas, prisoners may validate each others" criminal activity. Employers are less willing to employ those who have been to prison. Such circumstances may reduce the options available to past offenders and make future criminal behavior more likely. Rehabilitation becomes more difficult. In addition, rates of self-harm and abuse are alarmingly high within both men"s and women"s prisons. In 2006 alone, there were 11,503 attempts by women to self-harm in British prisons. This suggests that imprisoning offenders unnecessarily is harmful both for the offenders themselves and for society as a whole.
bobhi

Pro

I agree with all my opponent's definitions.

Opponent's Contention 1: Retribution increases crime rate across the nation

- Retribution actually acts as a deterrent as people are afraid to act based on the consequences.

Opponent's Contention 2: Rehabilitation costs less than retribution
- Money does not link well to equality and whether Retribution "ought" to be valued
- no impact in today's debate

Opponent's Contention 3: Rehabilitation is beneficial to the prisoner
- true, but think big picture
- we can be beneficial to more people by using retribution as a deterrent.
- the prisoner has already violated his/her rights - do not put much weight
- how does this link to Equality?
- Retribution is more beneficial to the prisoner as before the fact, they would not commit the crime in the first place.

Opponent's Contention 4: Rehabilitation has greater regard for the offender
- first of all, no real evidence that Rehabilitation works.
- secondly, all of his evidence here is theory based

Overall, the reason why we are voting "Pro" is that Retribution acts as a deterrent.
====
"Common sense, lately bolstered by statistics, tells us that the death penalty will deter murder... People fear nothing more than death. Therefore, nothing will deter a criminal more than the fear of death... life in prison is less feared. Murderers clearly prefer it to execution -- otherwise, they would not try to be sentenced to life in prison instead of death... Therefore, a life sentence must be less deterrent than a death sentence. And we must execute murderers as long as it is merely possible that their execution protects citizens from future murder."

Ernest Van Den Haag, PhD
Late Professor of Jurisprudence at Fordham University
"For the Death Penalty," New York Times
Oct. 17, 1983
===

In addition, let's consider what my opponent is advocating. Should we always work to rehabilitate people? Do you think that people will always magically change their minds? Why does the two year old not touch the hot stove the second time. Everything is based on action-reaction logic. Imagine the case where every time you commit a crime, you get to go off to a nice center and be "rehabilitated". This does not deter criminals but instead would encourage them to commit additional crimes. I am trying to argue for the greater good of the greater number people. This involves minimizing crime. Thus, I strongly urge an affirmative vote.
Debate Round No. 1
zachdebate727

Con

1.Can you tell me why equality does not link up to my case?
2.Is it morally right to punish people who can be giving positive input back into the community?

Every person deserves a second chance. Is it morally right to not give criminals that second chance?
As for evidence, I have some if you would like to see it. You only need to ask.
My opponent has not layed out a case, only attacked mine. Therefore I ask the voters to vote con because of that.
bobhi

Pro

Let's start by looking again at my responses to my opponent's case.

Opponent's Contention 1: Retribution increases crime rate across the nation

- Retribution actually acts as a deterrent as people are afraid to act based on the consequences.

1) My opponent dropped this idea thus we can extend it. In other words, my opponent agrees that retribution acts as a deterrent. Thus his contention 1 regarding is null and actually supports my side. I entirely agree that crime rate across the nation is a problem which is why we need to resort to retribution

Opponent's Contention 2: Rehabilitation costs less than retribution
- Money does not link well to equality and whether Retribution "ought" to be valued
- no impact in today's debate

1) These ideas were not rebutted. Please extend them. We do not have to consider money in today's debate.

Opponent's Contention 3: Rehabilitation is beneficial to the prisoner
- true, but think big picture
- we can be beneficial to more people by using retribution as a deterrent.
- the prisoner has already violated his/her rights - do not put much weight
- how does this link to Equality?
- Retribution is more beneficial to the prisoner as before the fact, they would not commit the crime in the first place.

My opponent asked me "Can you tell me why equality does not link up to my case?"
- It is the burden of proof, or the responsibility of my opponent to link his contentions to equality if he is going to connect his contentions to his value. As he has not, they have no impact in today's debate.
- my other points regarding his contention 3 still stand.

Opponent's Contention 4: Rehabilitation has greater regard for the offender
- first of all, no real evidence that Rehabilitation works.
- secondly, all of his evidence here is theory based

1) I am sorry that I was not very clear. Ask you, the voters, to look at his evidence. It talks about ideas in theory. To make a claim such as "Rehabilitation has greater regard for the offender", I ask for concrete evidence. Does Rehabilitation always work? Can we always trust rehabilitation?

Responses to my opponent's new arguments:

"Is it morally right to punish people who can be giving positive input back into the community?"

The short answer is yes. It can be moral to "punish people" who in theory could be helping the community.

However, let's consider the following. If we can use the threat of punishment to deter the to-be criminals, we can prevent the crime from occurring in the first place. That is the the central reason why we are voting affirmative. We are helping society by preventing crime.

Also, my opponent claims that "Every person deserves a second chance". We are not in Preschool where kids fight over their toys. This is the real world. There are real problems in today's society. Does the Serial Killer deserve the second chance? Do we give him another chance to continue what he had started? This is wrong.

Thus, I strongly urge an affirmative vote. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 2
zachdebate727

Con

In response to my opponent's comment about this not being preschool, and that it's the real word, he is correct about that. Doesn't that mean that we should be grown-ups and give people a second chance? Where does it say anywhere that because a person committed a crime, we should kill them in return for their crimes? It doesn't. We need to be giving positive input to the community, and rehab is the way to do it.
To respond to my opponents attack on my contention 1, you can not assume that I dropped the notion. Crime rate is indeed a problem. Does that mean that I supported my opponent's case? No. We need to rehab these criminals so that they aren't clogging up prisons. If we rehabilitate, they alter their state of mind and become good people. Obviously the past system of retribution hasn't worked, otherwise our country would not be so concerned with the issue.

As for my opponent's attack on my contention 2, he gave no clear reason on why there is no impact through cost in the debate, therefore his arguement does not stand.

My opponent said to think big picture when he attacked my contention 3. I am thinking big picture. As I said before, retribution obviously hasn't worked. Therefore his arguement against my third contention does not stand.

Contention 4: the only "attack" he had was saying that I had no evidence.

This is my last arguement, and I would now like to explain why I won, then give evidence supporting my claims.

1: My opponent never laid out a clear case, only attacked mine. Therefore, I had no case to attack and should not be docked points for that.
2: I have substantial evidence supporting my claims below
3: My opponent attacked my case once, and I defended it.
I'd like to thank my opponent for a great debate, I know that I had fun. I am in high school and on the debate team, so my opponent's arguements helped me to see where I will need to defend in a round.
Evidence: http://bfi.utah.edu...
I strongly urge you to vote Con.
bobhi

Pro

bobhi forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by andrewkletzien 4 years ago
andrewkletzien
Agreed. When this was started, I was looking forward to it. Definitely a flop.
Posted by CrystalW_23 4 years ago
CrystalW_23
Affirmative, you didn't bring up a case of your own. And both sides, you didn't argue against the vast majority of the other's arguements, nor did you explain yourselves.. The arguements were just presented and open to interpretation. Rather a poor debate on both sides.
Posted by andrewkletzien 4 years ago
andrewkletzien
Probably my biggest point of debate with people. Unfortunately, I would be arguing against the motion as well. Good luck!
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