The Instigator
Kunjal4
Pro (for)
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The Contender
la_mun3ca158
Con (against)
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Should the U.S. put some prisoners in solitary confinement ?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/18/2015 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 487 times Debate No: 68522
Debate Rounds (4)
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Kunjal4

Pro

1)Solitary confinement is a form of imprisonment in which a prisoner is in a cell behind a solid door, in which he/she is isolated from other prisoners and human contact; though often with the exception of members of prison staff in some cases.
2)Solitary confinement helps protect prisoners and guards from those who are a treat of violence.
3)Solitary confinement is used as a punishment while felony is being investigated (if not definite yet).
4)Solitary confinement helps with behavior modification.
5)Solitary confinement is appropriate for prisoners who are deemed dangerous, who committed a major crime or in danger.
6)Dangerous as a threat to oneself or others, or in danger of other inmates.
7)Major crimes involving murder, gang activity, aggravated assault, and rape.
8)Prisoner"s may claim that it is "inhumane and cruel" and "torture" to keep them in the cell walls, but haven"t they not broken the law in the first place to be put in such a situation? (eliminating falsely accused cases)
9)These inmates held no regard for human life in the first place.
10)Therefore, the United States should put some prisoners in solitary confinement.

Non-Controversial Premises: Premises 1, 5, 6 and 7 are non-controversial. Premise 1 is just the definition of solitary confinement. Premise 5 is just stating who solitary confinement is appropriate for and premise 6 follows premise 5 in explaining what is meant as dangerous. Premise 7 is what is defined to be major crimes.

Controversial Premises: Premises 2,3,4,8, and 9 are controversial.
2: Often guards or prisoners are put in a situation where their life is in threat or they"re being harassed by other inmates, so isolation would be a preferred choice in these cases.
3: This is one of the reasons in which can get one to confess and also keep them isolated.
4: Those who are against solitary confinement may not see it as a behavior modification. They may see the negative effects such as causing depression, hallucinations, and becoming anti-social.
8: There are different ways a punishment can be "inhumane and cruel" and also how it is "torture".
9: There are different reasons as to why the prisoner committed the crime.
la_mun3ca158

Con

1. I agree with my opponents definition of Solitary Confinement and that it is isolation that denies the basic human need to interact with others.

2.I agree with Solitary confinement helps protect prisoners and guards from those who are a threat of violence in theory, BUT In Supermax: Controlling Risk through Solitary Confinement , it mentioned that as it is known solitary confinement is to reform prisoners, but evidence showed "little proof that they were any more effective than other forms of confinement" (Shalev, 2009).

3. I don"t agree with premise 3 Solitary confinement is used as a punishment while felony is being investigated because they usually hold them in the general population first if it"s still being investigated. If they are put into Solitary while there felony is being investigated it is due to their wrongdoings and that they may pose a threat to others and the correctional staff. Also when being sentenced, judges do not sentence the fugitive to solitary confinement prisons, it is due to their wrongdoings as well.

4. I do not agree with premises 4. It does not help with behavior modification because if put into Solitary Confinement, then they can become depressed, and harm themselves and others.

5. I agree with premises 5 that it is appropriate for inmates who are deemed dangerous or who committed a dangerous crime but as I stated before it has shown little proof that being in that confinement is any more effective than the other forms.

6. Agreed they are dangerous

7.My opponent"s premise 7 "Major crimes involving murder, gang activity, aggravated assault, and rape" is very imprecise. It is too Vague. If you have committed major crimes involving murder, gang activity, aggravated assault and rape, you can be in the general prison population and you can also be into solitary confinement too. It does not necessarily mean that just because they committed major crimes that they will be put into solitary confinement.

8. I agree that the prisoners may claim it is inhumane and cruel but they shouldn"t have broken the law to begin with to be put into solitary confinement.

9. I disagree with premise 9 because sometimes people are manipulated into situations like these that cause them to end up in jail. Saying that they have no regard to human life in the first place is a subjective claim. Some young adults are just naive and don"t know any better. They have to go through something to realize from what"s right and wrong.

10. If you put prisoners into Solitary confinement, they will go crazy, and crazy is bad.
11. Fugitives in the 20th century were thrown into solitary confinement for only a few days or weeks at a time. Nowadays fugitives get put into solitary confinement for years.
12. It is being used more often now than ever leading us to believe that it causes mental health concerns. The after effects are lethal, and can cause mental health concerns.
13. Solitary Confinement is worrisome to most psychologists who study the issue.
14. If you put prisoners in Solitary Confinement, then they are lacking the basic necessities of life. For example: interaction with others.
15. Solitary Confinement causes prisoners to suffer from anxiety, panic, insomnia, paranoia, and depression. (Weir, 2012)
16.If the US should put prisoners in Solitary confinement then it violates constitutional guarantees against cruel and unusual punishment, and damage the mental health.
17. Damaging the mental health immoral because it restrains the regular human rights to collaborate with others and that alone is manufacturing madness.
18. Building a Solitary Confinement prisons is too expensive to build, house and manage.

C. Thus, That is why the US should not put prisoners into Solitary Confinement.

Non-Controversial: 5, 6, 8, 11,14, 16, 18
Premise 1 see above for details, Premises 5 it is meant to house the worst of the worst, Premise 6 agreed, Premise 8 that"s is cruel and should"ve not being committing bad crimes so they have to deal with the consequences. Premises 11 because it"s known fact, Premise 14 it"s in the definition, Premise 16 its cruel and unusual, Premises 18 they are very expensive

Controversial: Opponent"s Premise 2,3,4, 7, 9 are controversial 10, 12, 13, 14, 17 are controversial as well.
Premises 2 because little proof shown its effectiveness, Premise 3 Because only way to be put into confinement is if you"re behaving very bad and pose a threat to others, Premise 4 see above for details, Premise 7 it can go either way. Premise 9 people a young and don"t know better. Premise 10 some can dispute that they don"t go crazy, Premise 12 some can dispute that it don"t lead to mental health concerns, Premise 13 some may argue not, Premises 15 some may argue not, Premise 17 some may say otherwise.
Debate Round No. 1
Kunjal4

Pro

1)Responding to premise 2, "little proof" doesn"t mean that it wasn"t enough to reform prisoners. It is vague and doesn"t show us how much little is.
2)I agree with premise 3. Convicted criminals do not usually end up in solitary confinement and are sent to prison but this shouldn"t be the case if the criminal is being arrested for an act of violence. The government"s job is to protect the community from violence. Thus, by putting these prisoners in an area where they are deprived of such surroundings, it can help to change.
3)I agree with premise 4. Prisoners may fall into depression and harm themselves but I putting them in solitary confinement wouldn"t let them harm others, instead it would help to prevent it.
4)Yes, I agree with premise 7. You can be in either general prison or solitary confinement. To clear up my premise 7, I was explaining what I referred to as "major crimes", not that all criminals were going directly to solitary confinement.
5)Answering premise 9, "being na"ve and don"t know any better" is downplaying the situation. Just because an individual isn"t experienced or not an adult, nowhere should it be rightful to take ones life. It is completely inhumane. There are many young adults out there who know killing and violence isn"t the way to solve a problem. Killing one shouldn"t be used as a learning process to not do it again. It"s more serious of a case compared to if a young adult were to jump a turnstile.
6)I agree with premise 11. The amount of time one is kept in solitary confinement has increased but it also depends on the crime committed. Some are let out in a week.
7)I agree with premise 12.
8)Referring to premise 14, if they are lacking the basic necessities for life, then where would you draw the line that taking the life or severely abusing another human being is a much greater problem? Instead of acting violently, if social skills and interaction with society was important, then why wasn"t communication used in the first place to solve the issue, rather then a act of violence?
9)Not everyone who is put in solitary confinement suffer anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, or depression. Some may actually be able to reform and use the experience as a way to become a better person. Being put in a room where they are isolated can help to realize wrong doings, be more at peace, have time to actually sit and think about what they have done, and the guilt may also help them to change,
10) Some punishment is needed for retribution for violating laws.
11)As quoted in an NPR program, a prisoner complained that his mattress in solitary was uncomfortable. In response to that was the following, "Sorry Pal, but the man you murdered while already serving time doesn"t get to complaining anymore about doesn"t get to complain anymore about bad mattresses- or anything else". If a violent prisoner ends up murdering someone who is already in prison, why should his punishment be lessened. One he already committed a crime, which put him in prison, and then on top of that he killed another inmate. He is clearly still a treat to others (eliminating self dense).
12)I agree. Solitary confinement is more expensive but should we be worried about spending more money on something that actually helps save and keep humans out of trouble and violence from others. There are many other issues in the world that do not need as much money put forth, and the government has no problem giving it there.
13)Everyone handles the situation of being in solitary confinement differently. They can maintain a daily routine of exercising at a certain time, eating at certain times, pretend the hour break into the open is part of schedule, and other activities they do to be an everyday thing. If one were to use this thought and process day to day, their life may seem normal. It all depends on how each prisoner chooses to live by.
la_mun3ca158

Con

1.Premise 2: Little proof shows that it is not always reforming them due to the fact that it"s almost no different than the regular population confinement. It"s now always going to work. You send them there to protect other prisoners and guards. Yet during the time spent, it"s like they go crazy and when they finish their time, they would end up doing something crazy. It"s just makes things worse.
2.Premise 3: Putting the inmates in an area where they are deprived of such may or may not help change. It"s more beneficial to the guards and other prisoners but what about the inmate? They go in fine and come out with all these health concerns. Convicted criminals only go to Solitary Confinement if and only for the worst of the worst kinds of acts. It"s not that they don"t usually go, it depends on them.
3.Premise 4: It will help not harm others but is it really helping if they begin to do it to themselves? Since they are deprived from our basic human rights to interact with others.
4.Premise 7: Thank You for clarifying that.
5.Premise 9: You are right, but remember sometimes people end up in jail for other things than taking someone"s life. And then when they go to jail things get overwhelming because no one is safe in jail and they have to protect themselves. Sometimes that is the case that someone ends up in Solitary Confinement. Two wrongs don"t make a right, I"m not saying that young adults out there don"t know killing and violence isn"t the way. I"m pretty sure they do but when it comes to petty crimes such as having a half an ounce. That"s not really hurting anyone.
6.Premise 11: You are right, some are out within a week for petty crimes within the jail and that is called disciplinary segregation but what about those put in for years on end.
8.Premise 14: What if it was the other inmate who started the conflict and it got to them, and he was forced to act in self-defense, it is plausible that they could have tried to talk but when someone acts in violence to you, talking isn"t the way to go. Your natural reaction would be to defend yourself.
9.The ends do not justify the means. This form of punishment is like murder. Dr. Corn stated who gave evidence in a legal case. "Studies have proven to show if you were to interview Solitary Confinement inmates each of them present undeviating mental complaints. "Many acknowledged generalized hyper-responsivity to external stimuli, perceptual distortions and hallucinations, affective disturbances, difficulty with thinking, memory and concentration difficulties, disturbances of thought content, and problems with impulse control." (Glancy, 2006, p. 362). These influence serious pathological affects that can produce a distinct clinical syndrome.
10.I agree some punishments is needed but I don"t think the person they are going to become is what we need, just manufacturing madness.
11. I agree with you but when not eliminating self-defense, you would see he had to defend himself or he will be the one dead. Have you ever considered that maybe what happened wasn"t meant for how it turned out to be. Have you ever questioned what really happened and why it lead up to it. If you preaching that inmates should be communicating with others instead of committing the crime and hurting others, why don"t the correctional staff try and communicate with the inmates to see what happened. Threes the lack of communication as well.
12.By creating all these type of prisons in different areas, we take up a lot of land. It can be a useful area used for educational purposes, school, hospitals, math centers etc. Its money and an in expense that we don"t need. We should be putting money in something beneficial.
13.I agree with you to some extent. One may find it difficult to use these thought and process day by day. You will always not live a normal life, nor will it "seem" like it. Orange sui, maybe no window, no sunlight, and a yoga mate bed will never let you come close to thinking or seeming your living a normal life. Plus you have feelings you will be missing your family. Here is an example, One article that discussed the psychological effects of isolated confinement on prisoners, written by a prisoner who was in solitary confinement for eight months, discussed how it was hard for him to stay mentally stable not knowing what day or what time it is (Lux, 1976). The prisoner found himself losing weight and being suicidal as well as seeing visions (Lux).
Debate Round No. 2
Kunjal4

Pro

1)Premise 1: They put themselves into the position in the first place, regardless of what crime they committed. Saying they were given the correct punishment of solitary confinement because they did commit such a severe crime, then they deserve to suffer somewhat as punishment. Plus, most are put in solitary confinement for extreme violent cases anyway, so they are more of a threat to the rest of inmates then the others would be to them.
2)Premise 2: I agree, the worst of the worst go into solitary confinement. At times, putting that certain inmate in solitary confinement could be the beneficial solution for the safety of himself. For example, if there were a scenario where every other prisoner severely disliked that one inmate, and even wanted to kill him, he would not be safe in general prison. It would be for the safety for oneself. It would cost less money to put that one inmate in solitary confinement then it would to put multiple, even if the others were the ones causing the mess.
3)Putting the targeted inmate in solitary confinement would be beneficial financially.
4)Premise 3: These individuals lost their rights to freedom once they committed their crimes and as said, they are only put in solitary confinement if it a severe case. Should we really just forget about the severe circumstances that put him/her in there and focus on how we should make the rights of the killer fair to themselves?
5)Premise 5: For the security of the inmates, that is why they have guards to try and maintain a safe and peaceful environment. But only they can do so much if the situations were to get out of hand. Someone who would have half an ounce would not be put into solitary confinement.
6)Premise 6: I"m pretty sure that there are guidelines that are followed when it comes to how much time someone spends in solitary confinement. Someone who committed a petty crime, agreed, will not spend much time in there. But then where would you balance out the same for a greater crime. How would it be fair if they both received the same amount of days in there, if one crime was much more outrageous.
7)Premise 8: Agreed. One will act violence on violence for self-defense.
8)Premise 9: If you were to think of it, solitary confinement would still give an individual a chance to reform back to normal and attempt and try to fit back into daily life. Whereas lets say they were to be just put on death row. They would completely be deprived of life. So yes even if they might come out of solitary confinement with such psychological problems, in time they have a greater chance of accustoming back with rehab rather then not having any chance when put on death row.
9)Premise 11. I agree. If it were of someone who was falsely accused, then they most likely do not deserve to be put in the situation. As far as correctional staffs are concerned, most of them follow their job and act based upon the situation. Plausibly the correctional staffs first approach to solving a situation would be by communicating with the inmate to stop the feud and only if they disobeyed the command would the staff need to go to other measures. They are doing their job.
10)I agree. You lack and have a feeling of emptiness and are unaware of time and day. But they shouldn"t be expecting a luxurious and beneficial environment to live in. They are paying the consequences of their actions.
la_mun3ca158

Con

1.Premise 1: You are right no one is taking that away from you, they commit the crime they do the time, but in the end is it all worth it. They will become more corrupt when they come out from Solitary Confinement. Its not always the case that they go in for extreme violent cases. In an article I read, it stated that an inmate went to solitary confinement from going to another inmates cell and taking there radio. Does that seem pretty violent or extreme. I think not. Its just a worst crime.
2.Premise 2: I disagree with your argument because given that scenario that you just mentioned. They should not put that inmate in solitary confinement for all the other inmate"s hostility and resentment towards them because he did not commit any crime. What would normally and supposed to happen is that they put him into protective custody. They have these kinds of units for that specific purpose. The prisoners have that opportunity for the use of protective custody if they get the impression that the environment they live in is harmful to their wellbeing. It would cost less money to put them in that then into solitary confinement which they should not given this scenario.
3.Putting the targeted inmate into solitary confinement is not beneficial at all actually.
4.Premise 3: Yes they lost their rights to freedom once they committed their crimes, we should not forget about how it lead up to the way it did though and still be able to make things rights. But remember not everything is about killing or killers as you are referring too.
5. You mean premise 9: You are not understanding what I"m saying, you mentioned earlier that "Just because an individual isn"t experienced or not an adult, nowhere should it be rightful to take one"s life. It is completely inhumane. There are many young adults out there who know killing and violence isn"t the way to solve a problem. Killing one shouldn"t be used as a learning process to not do it again. It"s more serious of a case compared to if a young adult were to jump a turnstile." What I mean by having an half an ounce is how they got into jail. What after happens when they are in there is totally up to them. But if one just has a half an ounce and that"s how they got into jail and know they are not about the life of killing and they are forced to act in that manner at jail then that"s what they have to do to protect themselves. And for saying that they have guards to try and maintain a safe environment that"s cool, but some guards are corrupt and look the other way on certain situations. There is corruption in almost all task force let"s not forget that.
6.You mean Premise 11: You are right there are guidelines that are being followed. Petty crimes is with small amount of time in Solitary & Worst acts get more time in Solitary. But the more time spent in solitary the more problems on that inmate. What happens to an individual who is as healthy as can be and then when they come out of solitary they have all these deviating mental complaints then who is at fault? These inmates do not go in to solitary hoping for a mental health issue. They go in to do their time and that"s it. Who is then responsible.
7. You mean Premise 14: Yes one will act in violence back if violence was given in the first place.
8.Premise 9: You are right, if will give them the chance to reform back. But due to coming out with these problems that the inmates did not ask for, it"s going to make accustoming back a whole lot harder. Some may not even accustom because of their conditions as well. They can be hearing or seeing things.
9.Premise 11: I agree but communicating on stop the feud is not the same as trying to see who is being responsible for the fight or even how it started. But they are doing their job and if they have to go to other measures they do.
10.Premise 12: I agree with you, you do lack emptiness and things in that nature. So then you can"t say that they can feel like they can have a normal life because they never will given the situation they in and where they are being housed. Not saying that they think they are going to be housed in luxury or a beneficial environment.
Debate Round No. 3
Kunjal4

Pro

1) Solitary confinement is a form of imprisonment in which a prisoner is in a cell behind a solid door, in which he/she is isolated from other prisoners and human contact; though often with the exception of members of prison staff in some cases.
2) Solitary confinement helps protect prisoners and guards from those who are a treat of violence.
3) Solitary confinement helps with behavior modification.
4) Prisoner"s may claim that it is "inhumane and cruel" and "torture" to keep them in the cell walls, but haven"t they not broken the law in the first place to be put in such a situation? (eliminating falsely accused cases)
5) As quoted in an NPR program, a prisoner complained that his mattress in solitary was uncomfortable. In response to that was the following, "Sorry Pal, but the man you murdered while already serving time doesn"t get to complaining anymore about doesn"t get to complain anymore about bad mattresses- or anything else". If a violent prisoner ends up murdering someone who is already in prison, why should his punishment be lessened. One he already committed a crime, which put him in prison, and then on top of that he killed another inmate. He is clearly still a treat to others (eliminating self dense).
6) There are guidelines that are followed when it comes to how much time someone spends in solitary confinement. Someone who committed a petty crime, agreed, will not spend much time in there. But then where would you balance out the same for a greater crime. How would it be fair if they both received the same amount of days in there, if one crime was much more outrageous.
7) If you were to think of it, solitary confinement would still give an individual a chance to reform back to normal and attempt and try to fit back into daily life. Whereas lets say they were to be just put on death row. They would completely be deprived of life. So yes even if they might come out of solitary confinement with such psychological problems, in time they have a greater chance of accustoming back with rehab rather then not having any chance when put on death row.
8) Therefore, the United States should put some prisoners in solitary confinement.

There were a switch in premises, but my conclusion is still the same. My partner argued that there was a scenario in which a person was put into solitary confinement for going into another inmates cell and taking their radio. That itself should not be a reason for one to be in solitary confinement but it is vague because we do not know what happened when the prisoner went inside the other inmates cell. There could have been an act of violence. Also, we agreed that the prisoners did loose their rights to freedom once they committed their crimes, so why should they not be punished for it. I do say for minor crimes, this should not be the case, but agreeing to major crimes being murder, gang activity, aggravated assault, and rape ; in such scenarios, solitary confinement should be an option for the higher authority. In addition, doesn"t everyone want to live in a safe free environment? If we let these criminals slip and not take matters as serious, then why would the criminals themselves take them seriously?
My partners main objections were that it causes mental health concerns and the after effects are lethal, and can cause mental health concerns. Yes, some may start to feel depression, have hallucinations and feel anti social but they have therapy for it. It is something that can be worked on over time to help get back to normal every day life. They can be more involved in programs and do services instead of being around the streets. Another objection was it violates our human rights. Well then speaking technically, the criminal had to have done some severe crime in which they were put in this situation. Our human rights does is against "cruel and inhumane" behavior, but why should it only be considered AFTER the individual broke the law themselves. There should be an equal and fair guideline amongst all. They should live up to their crime and serve the proper time. As human nature, when we are taken out of our comfort zone and punished for our actions, the prisoners can change and reform.
la_mun3ca158

Con

1.I agree with your definition of solitary confinement, it is "isolation that denies the basic human need to interact with others" (Masters, 2011, p. 497). And often they do not see the correctional staff members they are usually covered when being taking to other facilities.
2.I agree it does protect the others who are a threat of violence
3.Solitary Confinement does not help with behavior modification because prisoners who come out of Solitary Confinement develop many different kinds of health concerns such as from anxiety, panic, insomnia, paranoia, and depression. (Weir, 2012)
4.I agree it is considered to be cruel, inhumane and torture, and yes maybe if they did not do the acts they did and it can be a wide variety such as wrong place wrong time as well, then maybe they would not be in that position. But they know the health concerns it will bring if they go in there. We have to take into consideration the circumstances that lead them to do what they did before just throwing an inmate into solitary. One may have done something to defend themselves in prison and still end up in solitary. For as much as they don"t want to because the inmate themselves know they can develop all these problems when they did not have in the first place. It is not just limited to anxiety, paranoia and depression it can also be hyper-responsivity to external stimuli, perceptual distortions and hallucinations, affective disturbances, difficulty with thinking, memory and concentration difficulties, disturbances of thought content, and problems with impulse control." (Glancy, 2006, p. 362). These influence serious pathological affects that can produce a distinct clinical syndrome.
5.I agree with you but when not eliminating self-defense, you would see he had to defend himself or he will be the one dead. We have to look at the circumstances that lead to this situation. Maybe it did not mean to happen the way it did. There are accidents. But putting the scenario that you just painted, yes there will still be a threat to others but that"s just manufacturing madness because when that inmate comes out may only have made them more crazy. No one is saying his punishment should be lessened but proof have shown that it is not more effective than the other confinements.
6.Yes there are guidelines that are being followed. Of course they would balance out petty crimes with lessened time than the greater crimes. No one is saying that there is not a balance when it comes to the crimes. I am arguing that there in not an effective difference in placing an inmate into solitary because it has proven to be no different than the regular prison that they are normally in. The more time that they are spent in there only makes the problems worse.
7.It may give them the chance to reform back NOT to a normal life but to the regular prison life since when they come out of solitary they are put back into general prison, if they haven"t finished their time. If they finished in solitary and are released its only worse because who is to look after them now with the conditions they are having which would end up leading them back inside. Prisoners who are released from solitary have a greater chance to recidivate and go right back to prison. Death row has nothing to do with this example because once you are placed there and it"s your time you are gone. In solitary once you are placed and done your time the aftermath is what lethal. Even more lethal to those who are naturally suicidal and violent or have mental health concerns already. But nonetheless with the problems they are left with that the inmates did not ask for, it"s only going to make accustoming back very difficult. Many may not even due to these conditions.
8.One article that discussed the psychological effects of isolated confinement on prisoners, written by a prisoner who was in solitary confinement for eight months, discussed how it was hard for him to stay mentally stable not knowing what day or what time it is (Lux, 1976). The prisoner found himself losing weight and being suicidal as well as seeing visions (Lux).
9.This is a form of murder. If you put prisoners into Solitary confinement, they will go insane, and insane is harmful.
10. If put into Solitary Confinement, then they can become depressed, and harm themselves and others.
C.Thus, the US should not put prisoners in solitary confinement.
Debate Round No. 4
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