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slake7777
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Connoisseur
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Should Prisoners be given the right to vote?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/12/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,464 times Debate No: 30204
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slake7777

Con

Sophia Lake
February 7th, 2013

Should Prisoners be allowed the Right to Vote?
Hey debaters,

Here is a topic that as you know is very controversial. In some states such as Vermont, and Maine prisoners are given the right to vote. In many other states the prisoners can vote once done serving probation, and jail time. However, many other states do not allow prisoners to vote or are not yet sure. The point of writing this is to inform you on why prisoners should not be given the right to vote under any circumstances. Although that is my opinion I would love to hear what you guys have to say about it, what is your opinion on "Should Prisoners Have the Right to Vote? "

First, one of the serious issues is if a prisoner is a murder, should they be given the right to vote? The answer is no. They should not be given the right to vote, or any rights as a matter of fact. They took the rights away from the murder victim why should they be granted such a big opportunity (the opportunity to choose our country"s leader.) They also take the soul and dignity away from that person. According to the FBI there are 6.1 thousand recorders in the U.S. every year. Just think, not only do murderers take away from the victim, they also take away from their families. This letter to the New Jersey State Legislature signed by 63 New Jerseyans who lost loved ones to murder, May 10th, 2006: "We are family members and loved ones of murder victims. We desperately miss the parents, children, siblings, and spouses we have lost. We live with the pain and heartbreak of their absence every day and would do anything to have them back. We have been touched by the criminal justice system in ways we have never imagined and would never wish on anyone else. This touching statement is the suffering voices that do not want to see the criminal have rights, especially the right to vote.

Another issue would of course be prisoners who steal. Briefly, stealing is taking items or objects illegally. When prisoners steal they can hurt people emotionally, (especially if the stolen item is money). When they take away form others they should have something taken away from them , the right to vote.

Then theres the issue with prisoners spending a lot of time away from the outside world. How can we trust people to choose our nations leader when they have restricted knowledge from news paper, televisions. They will have only limited knowledge on the candidates beliefs.

Please let me know what you guys are thinking on this topic? Should prisoners have the right to vote? I think not.
Connoisseur

Pro

AHOY THERRRE MATEY!

It appears that you've misjudged the system that you people call justice.


A prisoner is no better or worse than you and I. They are simply people whose life has lead them to end up accused for a crime, base don evidence regardless of their actual commitment or not. Your next door neighbour could be a criminal but not a prisoner simply due to having the right lawyer at the right time. The justice system is based on a court case which is largely decided by popular vote a jury of imperfect human beings thinking their emotional, irrational judgement of the situation is 100% correct and a judge to slam their hammer willy nilly to bring 'order to the court' and get the damned thing done as soon as possible.

Once you appreciate that the entire system is imperfect and that there could be innocent prisoners and guilty citizens you begin to see the mental wall many of us raise to these people begin being demolished. Prison is hell, it's horrible and torturous and regardless of guilt of crime or not many people are, believe it or not, reformed within the first WEEK of being there (despite a 20 year sentence). Why? Well you try getting beaten up and undergo the oh-so-friendly 'initiation' ceremonies they do to the noobs at prison. Let me give you a clue as to the torment these poor individual undergo there.

Here is the very emotionally touching tale of Kimberly Yates, the prisoner regularly raped by her officer who was only in there for drug handling.

http://www.whas11.com...
http://www.alternet.org...

I shall quote her below.

"Officer Woodson would take me to the warehouse in the basement of the detention center, and that is where he raped me. After the first time, he told me that if I ever told anybody that he knew where my family lived,where my children lived, threatening to hurt them. I was afraid for myself and my family, so I did not say a word to anybody. He would repeat this threat every time he would attack me."

So this highly ranked officer, the enforcer of the law was in fact doing criminal things to the prisoner whose only crime was perhaps some drug smuggling/dealing. Now it is commonly thought that dealing with drugs is less immoral than regular rape (this Officer had raped many women before her, she was just the first to have the courage to speak up).

Why is it that this man, for the many uncaught years of being a criminal, had any more right to vote for who should be in power than the victim of his crimes? Simply because he hadn't been pleaded guilty for a very long time. Is this your idea of an accurate ban? Is this a justifiable system in which we can separate thee worthy of voting from the unworthy? I best hope not for both your sake and others'.

Now there is a separate issue.

While the general population have no idea of prison conditions and merely have what politicians feed them (most of which is lies) in assessing each party's outlook on how well to treat prisoners, they are actually voting in political parties with different ideologies of what a crime is and what a prison should be in the first place. If republicans, meaning the original unmodified republicans, were in power they'd be imprisoning gays in many states simply for engaging in homosexual activities (this is not the case anymore because the parties have become more diluted). However, this highlights that if a prisoner was put in simply for having gay sex, they'd be unable to vote democrats the next election for being a prisoner but in reality would be a non-prisoner if the party they wished to vote for were in power (so this ironic twist has created a clearly unfair bias towards them). In essence I am saying that many 'social crimes' such as blasphemy and freedom of speech might give someone a prison sentence under the system which they then want to vote against. This is unfairly banning them from voting in favour of a political regime that would mean they weren't a prisoner. So it is irrational to not allow a prisoner who is in prison for an act only criminal due to the party in power (this might be a crime such as swearing about god in public which some religious parties, if in power, would imprison one for). This is more of a theoretical than a practical point about the sheer immorality and irony of the system proposed.

The final point I'd like to raise is that a criminal is still fully capable of voting far more than an innocent person suffering from mental retardation of any kind. This is simply due to the intellectual capability of the prisoner being more sufficient for understanding complex economic laws and human rights values than an eligible voter (assuming they are not suffering from mental retardation of any kind). If you allow these people to vote (which is officially the case) you must definitely, from an intellectual perspective, appreciate the prisoner's capability to do so being superior to theirs and thus permit them to give their valuable vote to an election.

In conclusion, prisoners are just as eligible a voter as a citizen from a rational and moral perspective of any kind. The sole reason of opposing their vote is simply that of immature hell-bent urge for vengeance of victims of crimes. Nonetheless, it is totally irrational to assume any sort of perfection of a justice system meaning there are innocents in prison and criminals who've never yet been to it.

Thank you for reading my round one :)
Debate Round No. 1
slake7777

Con

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Connoisseur

Pro

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Debate Round No. 2
slake7777

Con

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Connoisseur

Pro

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Debate Round No. 3
slake7777

Con

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Connoisseur

Pro

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Debate Round No. 4
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