The Instigator
gonovice
Pro (for)
Winning
22 Points
The Contender
KevinL75
Con (against)
Losing
18 Points

Should sex offenders get harsher punishments?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/14/2007 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,939 times Debate No: 436
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (8)
Votes (12)

 

gonovice

Pro

I believe that someone who has commited a crime involving sexual abuse or anything like that should serve a longer time. If you were raped or molested and the person who did it got out 5 years later, they could do it again. I think that if someone is willing to be sick and evil like that then they should have to pay. The sentence is not long enough.

I don't know if anyone will want to debate this topic since everyone I know feels the same way, but I had to try.
KevinL75

Con

Despite the fact that I completely agree with you, I'd like to see if I can actually come up with a position on this side of the aisle!

Inherent in your argument is the assumption that the criminal justice system exists to "punish" individuals (which I disagree with), and to keep the public safe (which I agree with). Let's examine both of those assumptions.

If the criminal justice system exists only to punish individuals and not to attempt to rehabilitate them, then it only functions as a potential deterrent for criminals. Clearly, this deterrent isn't very effective, since people still commit crimes.

The criminal justice system should really exist not to punish, but to attempt to rehabilitate individuals to ensure that they are no longer a danger to society. If there is no effort made to make sure criminals don't repeat their criminal behavior, then it certainly fails at its second job, which is to ensure public safety.

By focusing on rehabilitation instead of punishment, we will minimize the chances of criminals repeating their criminal behavior once they get out of prison. After all, if we, for example, double sentences for all sex offenders, won't they be just as much of a danger in 10 years as they would in 5, if we don't try to recondition their behavior while they're in prison?

If there's no effort made to rehabilitate, then criminals will be just as likely to re-commit crimes when they get out of prison regardless of how long they serve. The only real way to ensure public safety would be to impose a mandatory life sentence to all sex offenders.
Debate Round No. 1
gonovice

Pro

While I understand what you're saying it kinda seems a little impossible. Rehablitating them may not work then what? we just put them back out on the streets. That doesnt seem very reliable to me. When you send an acoholic to rehab does it always work? what about drug rehab? they dont always end up working. sentencing them to life in prison seems the best way.
even though they didnt kill anyone doesnt mean they didnt hurt anyone. if they rape or molest a little girl they rob her of that innocence. she will have to go to conseling to deal with it and it will traumatize her for the rest of her life. is that what we want. if that happened to someone in your family then you would want justice to be served.

you make it sound like the punishment is torture or something. life in prison is better then what the little girl went through. I just believe that if someone is going to commit the crime then they should have to pay for it.
KevinL75

Con

I'm definitely not trying to say that the goal of the criminal justice system should be only to rehabilitate and not have any element of punishment - I'm saying that if it only exists to punish and doesn't make any attempt at rehabilitation, it's likely that no matter how long a sex offender stays in prison, he or she will be likely to re-commit his or her crime once he or she gets out.

And you're right that it's impossible to rehabilitate everyone, but let's look at the alternative. Let's say we increase sentences for one particular sex offender from 5 years to 15 years. If that's all we do, and we don't have an element of rehabilitation, he's just going to have to wait 3x as long to get out, and we still have no guarantees that he won't do the same thing again.

So without rehabilitation in our criminal justice system, you do have to come to the conclusion (and it looks like you have) that sex offenders need to serve life terms. But is that really a good solution? I don't think it is, because besides being tremendously burdensome to taxpayers, we would need to adopt that logic for ALL crimes. If someone robs a convenience store, drives drunk and hits someone, abuses a spouse, traffics illegal drugs, or just about any crime, there's never a guarantee they won't do it again. So if we really aren't interested in trying to prevent criminals from re-committing their crimes, shouldn't all crimes be punishable by life sentences?
Debate Round No. 2
gonovice

Pro

Okay if we can't give them life sentences then what do we do? giving them rehab doesn't guarentee that they arent going to go out and commit the same crime. If we put them back on the streets they can do it again. Then they go back to prison. and this could happen over and over again. if it were to happen over and over again then that person might end up spending most of their lives in prison. at what point do we say we're done and they can't be trusted. when so we say that they need to spend the rest of their life in prison?
KevinL75

Con

You said: "giving them rehab doesn't guarentee that they arent going to go out and commit the same crime."

You're right, and that's a scary thought, but it's the reality we have to deal with. I don't think we can realistically lock people up for life for committing crimes, so we need to design our criminal justice system in such a way that ensures that the public is as safe as possible. It's not going to be a perfect system, but we can certainly make it better than it is now.

This proposal I'm about to make has a lot of flaws, and it's more of a thought experiment than a policy, but ideally, I think the criminal justice system should look like this:

Criminals should be sentenced to prison based on the average amount of time it takes to rehabilitate someone who has committed that crime. If, however, that person is deemed to not have been rehabilitated in that amount of time, a jury of peers should be empowered to extend that individual's sentence. Individuals who are deemed an intransigent danger to society should spend life behind bars, in the interest of public safety.

I can imagine a lot of objections to that system by people reading this, and I definitely welcome them in the comments section! :)
Debate Round No. 3
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by gonovice 9 years ago
gonovice
i was just wondering. he did give a good argument though. i cant argue you about that.
Posted by PreacherFred 9 years ago
PreacherFred
Gonovice, I am not saying that you did a bad job, just I thought our opponent presented a better arguement. There is something to be said for your arguement but many safeguards would have to be included.
Posted by gonovice 9 years ago
gonovice
was that supposed to be an answer.
Posted by PreacherFred 9 years ago
PreacherFred
The criminal justice system, like a pendulum, is swinging away from rehabilitation toards punishment without it. No matter how much time served, if there has not been any rehabilition (except in name only) then it doesn't matter how much time was served, the perpetrator leaves jail the same man as when he entered.

"Criminals should be sentenced to prison based on the average amount of time it takes to rehabilitate someone who has committed that crime. If, however, that person is deemed to not have been rehabilitated in that amount of time, a jury of peers should be empowered to extend that individual's sentence. Individuals who are deemed an intransigent danger to society should spend life behind bars, in the interest of public safety." Given the right safegurads, this is the basis of a good idea for improving the system. Mandantory sentences are in effect but have proven not to be effective.
Posted by gonovice 9 years ago
gonovice
he presented a better argument why?
Posted by PreacherFred 9 years ago
PreacherFred
Having worked in my county's jail with sex offenders, I must say that every case needs to be seen in its own merits. I knew an inmate who, at 17 got a 14 year-old girl pregnant. He did everything right. Got a job, an apartment and stayed with the girl that he loved. He provided fot both the mother and the child. When the young man turned 18, the girl's father had him arrested for statutory rape.

KevinL75 seems to have presented a better arguement.
Posted by KevinL75 9 years ago
KevinL75
I just want to point out that in round 3 I wasn't saying that you being right is a scary thought, ha!
Posted by albachteng 9 years ago
albachteng
if either of you feel like reposting this argument, i will gladly partake. at this stage, i think the analysis is a little bit superficial, but it's an interesting question.

I like how we're beginning to discuss the purpose of justice/punishment. it's a fascinating question.
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Vote Placed by gonovice 8 years ago
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Vote Placed by LakevilleNorthJT 8 years ago
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