The Instigator
Pro (for)
1 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Should Rehabilitation be a model for U.S. Prisons?

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/11/2016 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 9 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 293 times Debate No: 84872
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (0)
Votes (1)




I am pro, I will be arguing that prisons in the United States should focus on rehabilitation methods; rather than the current way the prisons are run.

Round 2: Will be Opening Statements

Rounds 3 & 4: Will be rebuttals

Round 5: Will be closing statements


I am con, and I will be arguing that prisons in the United States should be run as it is currently.
Debate Round No. 1


I would like to thank my opponent for taking the time to debate. Please adhere to the prenote, before rebuttal. I will be using a semantical approach. My opponent must agree.

Words that need to be defined and set beforehand:

"**Restore (someone) to health or normal life by training and therapy after imprisonment, addiction, or illness**" In this debate, it will be used to describe the act of prisons, U.S. and globally, to focus less on the punishment of imprisonment, say for example, isolation, is to give them incentives for good behavior and to make them fit in with society again.

Society is defined as, by Oxford:

"The aggregate of people living together in a more or less ordered community." <-- For the sake of this debate, society will be how people interact with each other, legally, between different countries including the United States.

Imprisonment, will be used to describe the action of being sentenced, by court of law, of a federal or national prison to any country.

Recidivism, is going to be used in this debate to describe the act of repeat offenders in various countries, no matter the prison style, this statistic will be discussed. By oxford, it is defined as:

"The tendency of a convicted criminal to reoffend:"

Success will be used to describe the efficiency of prisons in stopping from crime, to the specific countries standards, within the prisons. As well as recidivism rates between each country's standards. Any country may be used to example prisons, but remember the debate is regarding the effect on a rehabilitative prison system in the United States.

A First World Country is a country that has common capitalist interests, and share ideas in economy throughout one another. The economy of these countries are usually stronger and more powerful than third world countries, Asian and Latin American, and African countries that are aging and have weaker economies and government.

To define a nice prison, for this debate, is to define a prison with higher success than a majority of other countries. Therefore, the argument "nicer prison", is sound and valid.

Third World Prison Models cannot be used, however. Second World Countries may be used, but only if they provide solid evience of using similar prison systems of that of the United States.

It is not the pro's job to define the U.S. Prison System, for the Con is arguing for the United States prison system, it would be obligatory for him to define this.

Human Rights, as defined by Oxford is:

"A moral or legal entitlement to have or obtain something or to act in a certain way" <--- It is not defined in rights on what is and what is allowed to be taken away from. If my opponent wishes to provide argument "Taking away a life of someone, or another crime should take away the rights of the criminal", my opponent must use specific legal writings of a specific country, to make that argument valid.

Very well then.

The Opposite of a term defined is the opposite of the terms definition for this debate. Therefore non-rehabilitative is a valid argument.

That's all the definitions, I need.
The logic of my argument will follow this standard, if the con decides that the logic used to describe prisons is either false or invalid, logically or literally, con must state this during round 2, if he does not object; it will be accepted as fact for the entirety of the debate.I challenge my opponent to find a flaw with this logic, for it is undeniably the truth.

For Sake of the debate, let Norway be used in example.

1.) First World Countries have nicer prisons than Third World Countries
2.) Norway's rehabilitative prison are nicer prisons than non-rehabilitative First World Prisons.
3.) Given (2), and "nicer prisons", the United States is a non-rehabilitative First World Prison.
4.) Therefore, Norway's prison system is nicer than the United States.
5.) There are many first world countries that follow Norway's prison model.
6.) Given (4) and (5), many countries have nicer prisons than the U.S.
7.) First World Countries with nicer prisons than the U.S. have lower crime.
8.) Given (6) and (7), many countries have lower crime than the U.S.
9.) Statistically speaking, (8) is a direct cause of (7)
10.) Given (9), many first world countries, or countries, have lower crime as a result of rehabilitative prisons.
11.) The United States would most likely have lower crime as a result of rehabilitative prisons.

That is my argument. Using this logic, and some statistics, the United States would most likely have lower crime as a result. Since, law is infringement of rights(Defined, undebatable); it could be safe to say that law is a bad thing; depending on what Con defines good and bad to be.

Vote for Pro!



First of all, I would like to ask this. What are prisons for and why are people in prison? I believe that when someone does wrong, they have to live through the consequences. Therefore, rehabilitation would be an easy way out. As for the crime rates, that is a whole different topic. Crime happens for several reasons, but if Prisons became an easy way out, criminals would go out of hand. What the numbers don't show is the friends and families of the victims. If you parents or kids were killed, would you want the murderer to rot in jail, or would you want them in a Rehab center pretending to have changed? Do you think that someone who has the guts to kill, would change without actually being punished?

That is all.
Debate Round No. 2


Obviously, my opponent does not argue semantically. Therefore, I will not argue semantically.

My opponent clearly does not know what recidivism is, or else he would have mentioned it in his argument. Statistically, what the numbers do show is this: The majority of violent crimes in the U.S. are from "repeat" offenders. <-- Recividism is exactly this, and it's at alarmingly high rates.

That said, then the claim that my opponent makes of 'pretending to have changed', would be false. And actually more true, statistically, as history has shown violent crimes usually are result of repeat offenses by someone who's already served prison time. Is it fair, to a young man with a very long life ahead of him, to be served in a prison where assault happens daily and leaves young men and woman with stupid mistakes ruined for life?

What if your brother got arrested for a minor misdemeanor, is it really deserved to be treated with so little respect that institutionalized is even a notion. People leave prison for relatively small offences,, and come out being violent criminals due to being given a life of assualt and beatings, with nothing to do but stare at a wall, being told when to eat and to use the bathroom. When people leave prison, they sometimes don't know any different way. And this statistically has shown that this is the cause of higher recidivism rates and high repeat offenses being more violent rates in the U.S.

Prisons like the one in Norway, still takes away the rights of prisoners. Serious offenders get isolation, and trust privileges are removed, and strict maximum security, but there's little assault or attackings in these prisons. The prisoners are trusted with their own bathroom, a room with 12 members, metal utensils, and history has shown every reason to do this. It's not simply "Say you've changed, and you can leave;", unlike the U.S., rehabilitory style prisons make the criminal PAY a debt to society.

Learn the morals of right and wrong, and prepare them for live outside of prison. Especially for those with smaller prisons. Rehabilitory doesn't shorten sentences, it just gives privelages like cooking and extra cirricular to get used to life outside of prison just as much as they are forced to live life inside prison.

Crime would seriously decrease if the U.S. used these models. The sources I used in previous argument work for this argument.


The majority of violent crimes in the U.S. are from " repeat" offenders. Why is that? It is because criminals have a mindset that they cannot change. Is it fair, to a young man with a very long life ahead of him, to be served in a prison where assault happens daily and leaves young men and woman with stupid mistakes ruined for life? Yes it is. One mistake can be costly and that goes for everything. Lets use murder as an example. Lets say the murderer was not planning to kill anyone but he got carried away. Although it was a stupid mistake, that does not change the fact that he killed someone and that mistake will ruin his/her life. We cannot make any excuses for the crimes that the people have committed and it is only fair fair for their mistakes to haunt them for life.

"Prisons like the one in Norway, still takes away the rights of prisoners. Serious offenders get isolation, and trust privileges are removed, and strict maximum security, but there's little assault or attackings in these prisons." There is little assault or attackings in these prisons because the inmates are trusted? Maybe there are several cases of guards assaulting inmates in America, but statistics also show that in 2000, inmates were given 52,307 violations for assaulting fellow prisoners or guards, for a rate of 4,260 violations per 100,000 prisoners. OUTSIDE PRISON WALLS, meanwhile, the FBI tallied 911,706 aggravated assaults that same year, for a rate of 324 for every 100,000 people. As for the "Say you've changed, and you can leave," clearly shows that prison inmates cannot be trusted. Therefore, that way of judging wether the inmate has changed should be changed. That does not mean that giving them rights would make them more trustworthy.

Why is rehabilitation used on juvenile offenders but not adult offenders? That is because children and teens respond to change better than adults. Also, I believe that trusting inmates with their own bathroom, in a room with 12 members, or with metal utensils isn't necessarily rehabilitation. Actually, I believe that is called a prison. As far as I know, inmates still have bathrooms, they have time to socialize with other inmates, and they get to use utensils. Rehabilitation would involve counselors and doctors to help these inmates. Unfortunately, this seems too dangerous to put innocent people in a room with criminals.

Maybe crime would decrease if the U.S. followed these models. Maybe crime would decrease if the inmates were tortured. Maybe crime would decrease if criminals were all given the death penalty. Who knows? But are we willing to risk the lives of innocent people such as the doctors and counselors that we are putting at risk?

The way prisons are being operated currently is the most efficient and successful. After all, crime rates have only gone down since the 1990's.

Debate Round No. 3


My opponent seems to have little knowledge of behavior of criminals. In fact, I have reason to believe that my opponent even contradicted himself in the first paragraph. My opponent claims --> "Violent crimes are from repeat offenders because criminals have a mindset they cannot change?" Then my opponent claims that sometimes the crime is a "mistake" that ruins their life, but if they had no intentions to commit a heinous act; then is it safe to say that the person wouldn't do it again? Besides, murder is a terrible example because it's usually 25 to Life anyway; so the chance of repeat offences is lower since the rate of getting out of prison is lower.

If my opponent did not mean to contradict himself, then he is still wrong. He claims that the mindset of criminals cannot change; yet those who have a drug addiction problem can? There's thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of cases of drug addiction or alcohol abuse that changed their ways from rehab clinics and have been sober since.

Now, I would like to clarify my statistic: No, it's not just that violent crimes are from repeat offenders.

In fact: A person's crime gets INCREASINGLY violent after leaving prison. This is because in the current United States prison system; people are punished not to be taught right from wrong. They are taught and learned and exposed to violence, assault, and abuse by guards, corrupt officials, and prison inmates; with no other reason than to get revenge for simple things.

Does a person who missed a ticket ONE time deserve to be raped in the shower? Does a person who got in a fight without any major injuries deserve to be beaten within an inch of their lives for self-defense. What about the variety of innocent men who walk into that prison?

The prison system in the United States is not a prison system, it is a vigilante justice program. Rehabilitation has proven over generations to teach people the morals of their actions. The prison system in the United States was not created for what it's intended for. It was intended to restrain those who seem dangerous to society; they were supposed to learn from their mistakes.

It's very ironic how my opponent says moronically, "Prisoners and criminals don't change," if this were the case, then why would he be supporting a prison system were criminals are released after a certain period of time, and get parole. If they can't be a fit to society anymore? Even if my opponent didn't want the rehabilitory styles he argues for a change in the prison system, which I find laughable.

Rehabilitation prison systems give activities and things to do for the prisoners. But here's the thing: Halden prison, in Norway, is the nicest prison in the world and perhaps the most successful in at least Norway in handling criminals. That prison, is MAXIMUM security. It is heavily guarded and inmates are watched over and over, but are given tasks. Chores, things to do, activities so they can still have a hope of being cured.

Not the institutionalized slop the U.S. calls a prison. If any other institution failed at it's purpose as much as the United States did, it would be shut down within a week. Protested, the owner would be tagged for fraudulence. And in an ironic twist, have to suffer a fate from a place so horrible that's run by the people who shut him down for the very same reason.

Rehabilitation has proven to work; the entire goal of rehabilitory prisons is to let the inmates learn, yet my opponent denies this with little evidence supporting his claim. Game over.

Vote for PRO!


MikeRoss forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


My arguments stands.

Vote for Pro!


MikeRoss forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Reeseroni 9 months ago
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: forfeiture