The Instigator
kenny_s
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The Contender
la_mun3ca158
Con (against)
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Should the US put prisoners in Solitary confinement

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/21/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 774 times Debate No: 68667
Debate Rounds (4)
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kenny_s

Pro

1) Solitary confinement is s a form of imprisonment in which a prisoner is isolated from any human contact, though often with the exception of members of prison staff.

2) Solitary confinement helps insure the safety of the correctional officers. Day in and day out these correctional officers have to deal with dangerous criminals who have nothing to lose, for the especially dangerous ones it is a must that they be locked away for 23 hours of the day.

3) It helps insure the safety of the inmates as well. In prison, there can be a variety of different gangs who wouldn't think twice about taking another inmate's life. The people that belong to these gang or who just like to inflict pain on other people need solitary confinement.

4) It serves as a form of discipline for those trouble making inmates. Solitary confinement makes the inmates think twice before committing an act that is look down upon.

5) It promotes the respect of authority. The inmates cannot feel as if they own the prison or that the correctional officers are soft because that will motivate them to cause chaos.

6) It allows the inmate that is in solitary confinement to reflect upon the acts he has committed that landed him in prison and solitary confinement.
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7) Therefore, the US should keep putting prisoners in solitary confinement.
la_mun3ca158

Con

1.I agree with your definition on Solitary Confinement, accept the part of the exception of members of the prison staff because often they can"t see the correctional staff and their face is covered when transported to other locations.
2.Of course it does insure the safety of the correctional officers and the other prisoners but who is it really beneficial for? Its beneficial for the other prisoners and correctional staff members but what about the mental health effects that this causes on the inmate? Have you considered the circumstances that may have made the inmate dangerous and not really dangerous because it takes one situation to label an inmate dangerous and throw them in Solitary Confinement.
3.Although it insures the safety of other inmates putting the inmates in solitary confinement. It is now being used, leading us to believe that it causes mental health concerns. The aftermath of solitary confinement does not just hurt the inmate but even when they come back out of solitary confinement to the general prison. It may have just made things worse knowing it causes prisoners to suffer from anxiety, panic, insomnia, paranoia, and depression. (Weir, 2012)
4.Yes I agree that it serves as a form of discipline but so does the general prison since they are restricted from freedom itself and that"s what they want or strive for. It can make them think twice before committing but in reality the side effects it what matters more. The side effects can be permanent and is becoming worrisome to psychologists who study this issue.
5.I agree that it may show who is "BOSS" But I don"t agree with the fact that they cannot feel like they own the prisons or the correctional officers are soft for the simple fact that they still form clicks in prison and some correctional officers are corrupt for something beneficial to them.

6.Although it allows for the inmate to reflect upon the acts he has committed that landed him in prison and solitary confinement it still deprives them from the basic necessities of life that we need on a day to day basis which infact If the US should put prisoners in Solitary confinement then it violates constitutional guarantees against cruel and unusual punishment, and damage the mental health. We need to take into consideration the circumstances that lead them into prison. For example just being at the wrong place at the wrong. Sometimes we also need to see the circumstances that lead the inmate to solitary. They may have went inside for a petty crime and when they got there the older inmates prey on the young and try and take advantage. So the inmate would react in self- defense.
7.We should not put prisoners into solitary confinement because it is very expensive to build and to manage.
8.Why put prisoners into solitary confinement if little proof show that they were any more effective that other forms of confinement" (Shalev, 2009).
9.Putting inmates in solitary confinement can worsen their behavior and make even worse to the inmates who are already mentally unstable, violent and suicidal.
10.If put into Solitary Confinement, then they can become depressed, and harm themselves and others.
C. Therefore, the US should not put prisoners in solitary confinement

Assuming that all my opponents arguments are controversial

Non-Controversial: Premise 9, Premise 10

Controversial: Premise 1 even though it"s a definition because my opponent can dispute that they see correctional officers. Premise 2 my opponent can dispute that it does not affect the health. Premise 3 my opponent can dispute that putting them in solitary is solely beneficial for protection and helps to insure the safety of others. Premise 4 may feel like the side effects does not matter more. Premise 5 because my opponent can dispute that things are different now and that there is none that are not corrupt. Premise 6 see details above. Premise 7 because my opponent may argue that even though its expensive it"s still a system that may work. Premise 8 because my opponent can dispute that solitary is very different and can help reform an inmate.
Debate Round No. 1
kenny_s

Pro

1) It is not always the case that the inmate in solitary confinement has his or her face covered while being transported to different locations.

2) A punishment shouldn't be beneficial because it is put in place to discipline the inmate. I agree that solitary confinement can have negative effects on the mental state of the inmate, but their mental state can already be questioned due to the fact that they committed some kind of act that got them landed in there in the first place. As long as the inmate is following directions, they will not be sent to solitary confinement.

3) As i stated before, i do agree that there can be negative effects on their mental states, but most of these inmates going into solitary are already in a bad mental state which can be dangerous to the people around them.

4) Obviously they haven't learned from the general confinement because they rare still causing trouble and being a danger to the people around them.

5) Yes i do agree that some correctional officers are corrupt, but even the corrupt ones worry about their safety and if there is a specific inmate causing trouble or is a threat to cause one of them harm they would still want to separate that inmate.

6) The inmate still gets their food, water, and their time outside in the sun and fresh air, all of their basic necessities are still being met.

7) It is true that solitary confinement is expensive, but can you put a price on the safety of the inmates and correctional officers?

8) As stated before it is a form of discipline, because most inmates think twice before they cause problems after spending some time in solitary confinement.

9) It can also make their behavior better or at least make them think twice before doing something that could possibly land them in solitary.

10) Prison itself is a depressing place, but they were not worried about depression when they committed the crime.
la_mun3ca158

Con

1.In a book I have read, it states "They have no interaction or eye contact with inmates or staff, Twenty-Three hours a day cell confinement in a sound proof cell, One hour of recreation alone in walled recreation area slightly larger than a cell, Twenty-fours hour electronic surveillance, No interaction or eye contact with inmates or staff, Strip searches whenever a prisoner leaves a cell, At least two correctional officers must accompany the prisoner when moved. (Masters, p.343)" Therefore I can conclude that do.
2.I agree with you it"s not so much beneficial but it is better for the other inmates and prisoners to not deal with the inmate put into solitary confinement. For the simple fact that, that threat of violence is not there no more. I disagree that there mental state can already be questioned due to the fact that they committed some kind of act that got them landed in there. I disagree because we do not know what happened that got them into that place. Even self-defense can even put you in prison because they can"t believe you. Even the falsely accused who end up in jail as well. You have yet to consider the circumstances that landed that individual in there.
3.As I stated before it"s not all the time that there are in a bad state of mind. Some inmates may already be naturally violent or suicidal and when putting them in solitary confinement it"s only making matters worse for when they are released from solitary confinement. Back in the 20th century many inmates were thrown into solitary confinement for only a few days or weeks at a time. Nowadays these inmates get put into solitary confinement for years which causes these mental complaints.
4.Maybe they are being like that to protect themselves. Let"s say someone was to get locked up for having drugs on them or an ounce of weed. Technically speaking they are not hurting anyone and they did not kill anyone. When they go to jail even if their intentions aren"t to kill or they are just not about that life and they do. Wouldn"t you take into consideration what has occurred. Many people go to jail for a lot of different reasons. Usually when someone new goes to jail they are like the prey. All the old inmates come in thinking they can run them and try to hurt them. One is going to act in a way that they was given. Our nature reaction is to fight back when being attacked. Now why would you label them as trouble and being dangerous.
5.Yes they may worry about their safety too and if there is a specific inmate causing trouble or is a threat to cause one of them harm they would want to separate that inmate. Although them separating that inmate which is causing temporary relief what happens when they are released? We are going to sit and pray they don"t come out with any mental health concerns which will even heighten the chances of more trouble and causing harm to others and themselves.
6.I don"t agree with you because solitary confinement is "isolation that denies the basic human need to interact with others" (Masters, 2011, p. 497). They are being denied to celebrate with others. Where is the interaction? Is that being met? Inmates still get there food you right but like an animal in a tray through a looked food port. And when it comes to "their outside in the sun and fresh air", in fact they are having One hour of recreation alone in walled recreation area slightly larger than a cell.
7.It is true that solitary confinement is expensive to build, maintain, house and manage but why would you waste money on that when there"s other things we should be building such as educational things liken schools, hospitals, math centers etc.. You can"t put a price on that. You can just easily leave them in their cells, are they hurting others in their own cell? I think not.
8.Although it can make them think twice and start talking to themselves and start seeing things. Which in fact will drive them crazy and can lead to schizophrenia. That would make me think twice of putting someone into that.
9.Unfortunately I disagree. It"s similar to your other 8th premise, it may make them think twice and while thinking twice they would be driving themselves crazy. They would begin asking themselves questions, making and create scenarios in their head, thinking someone out to get them, thinking that they have an imaginary buddy in there. It"s just a number of things that can happen along with just thinking twice about doing something that can land them in solitary while they are in solitary. Solitary does not necessarily make their behavior better.
10.Yes prison itself is a depressing place, just as when you have a heart break, your dog dies and home alone and bored. That"s depressing too. That does not justify someone going in healthy and coming out with a health concern that was basically handed in a platter in solitary confinement.
Debate Round No. 2
kenny_s

Pro

1) I agree for the most part they have their face covered, but its not always the instance. For example, a family member of mine was an inmate at Riker's Island who had to be sent to solitary confinement. After speaking to him, he informed me that during his stay in solitary while being transported through the jail he was not blindfolded or any other variation of something to cover his face.

2) I agree with you on the fact that we do not know why they're in jail, but that still doesn't change the fact that they disobeyed the rules in prison even though the inmate is already incarcerated. Solitary confinement may be detrimental to their mental state, but as i stated before some of these inmates are already going in with suspected mental issues which if not separated from the general population can cause a greater problem.

3) If the inmates already are in a bad state of mind, then they shouldn't be in prison in the first place they should be in a psych ward. I disagree that the inmates nowadays are thrown into solitary for years now because the average time spent in solitary is about 48 days.

4) The nature of the crime that they committed to land themselves in jail has nothing to do with them being put in solitary confinement. Its their behavior in prison that landed them in solitary confinement. Yes, the solitary confinement system is flawed, just like many legal and law enforcement systems, but separating the issue is definitely in the better of all the other inmates and correctional officers.

5) As i stated before, the system is flawed, but can you give me a better solution to disciplining an inmate who is acting unruly? I agree with the whole mental aspect of your argument but instead of trying to get rid of solitary a system should be implemented to monitor these inmates while going through solitary and after they get out as well.

6) Their liberties are already taken away after they are imprisoned. Yes, they aren't treated as well as the other inmates, but that was their decision to do whatever they did to land themselves in solitary. Yes, they are locked in a walled recreation are, but it is outside so their bare necessities are still being met.

7) Obviously keeping them in their cells isn't doing the job if they are still disobeying the rules of the prison. A discipline system needs to be in place in such a hostile environment like prison. The correctional officers are outnumbered so any inmate causing a disturbance must be separated.

8) This point cannot be argued without speaking to people who have been put in solitary confinement.

9) Not every case of people going into solitary confinement ends with someone coming out in a bad mental state. Solitary doesn't necessarily make their behavior better but prison doesn't either. What solitary does do is give the inmates a punishment within a punishment, reinforcing the fact that they can still suffer consequences for their actions.

10) Not ever inmate going into solitary are mentally stabled, yes solitary can make it worse but so can prison itself.
la_mun3ca158

Con

1.Okay it may not always be the case but it does occur and it many other states as well.

2.Let me paint you another picture, not anything that"s fabricated either. In an article I read that inmates who are sent to jail often are like fresh meat to those are already incarcerated and that"s when the problems occur. They are either looking for someone to prey on, or the other inmates feel and have establish that it"s their home and they better not come in trying to run things. That alone is enough to send someone to solitary confinement because the problems are with that inmate and although you haven"t done anything, the moment you defend yourself it goes left and next thing you know you are in solitary yet you have not done anything wrong. That does not necessarily mean that they disobeyed the rules because they haven"t. How would you stop a conflict that you have yet to say or do anything or even look, and then it gets physical? Yes solitary confinement is detrimental to their mental state, but you can"t say that these inmates already go in with suspected mental issues because if that was the case they will go to mental hospital. If they were put into prisons rather than the mental hospitals where they should be, even still they won"t be just put into solitary because they have not done anything wrong to be separated. Your only separated for really the worst of the worst kinds of acts, your stating that mental illness alone is a worst of the worst kinds of acts?

3.But you stated first that "3) As i stated before, i do agree that there can be negative effects on their mental states, but most of these inmates going into solitary are already in a bad mental state which can be dangerous to the people around them" implying that the ones already in a bad state should be in solitary. So how can you say now that if they are in a bad state of mind they should now be in a psych ward. I also disagree with you saying that inmates average time is 48 days. There are two types of solitary confinement if you haven"t known, as mentioned in the article (Weir, 2012). One is disciplinary segregation and the other is administrative segregation. The difference between the two is disciplinary is for a week or two while being used for petty situations. For example, hypothetically speaking an inmate steals from another inmate such as a radio. Disciplinary is usually a set sentence in solitary confinement. Administrative segregation is for those inmates who pose a higher threat and it is for months or years. Weir also mentioned: Though critics contend that administrative segregation has never been proven to make prisons safer, use of this type of confinement has continued to rise. "Prisoners in low and medium security jails are often thrown in the SHU for "just" a few days. But in maximum security prisons, individuals in solitary are held on average for five years, and there are thousands of cases of prisoners who have been held in solitary confinement for decades."(George Dvorsky)
4.Yes it very much so has lots to do with them being put in solitary, since you want to state that they already have some kind of suspected mental issue since it land them in prison period which is false. You are right it is their behavior that landed in solitary, No one is saying that it isn"t. All the systems are flawed in every given way, but why would you separate someone for instance using self-defense?

5.If it"s has been proven to be no different than other confinements how about you just leave them there, or in their original cells?

6.Not looking into the circumstances that lead them in that predicament again. It denies the basic human need to interact with others so not everything is "still being met". The walled recreation area is not outside so it is not being met, communication; where"s the basic human need to interact?

7.Keeping them in their cells is a better way, the chances of them developing mental health issues are very slim in that. Since they would just see others out and they are just locked in their cells watching others do what they wish to do. You are right a disciplinary system needs to be in place but you wouldn"t pay them any mind just like you don"t in solitary they are just caged in watching others do what they wish them can do. So the corrections officer watch over the others not them because they do not need too. Being out numbered will always be the issue then even if they were in solitary or caged in their cells.

8.And you right, Glancy also discussed how researchers have examined about 40 inmates that are in solitary confinement in a United States prison. They interviewed the prisoners with open-ended questions to try and evaluate their mental health on a variety of subjects. After interviewing the inmates and touched on many kind of subjects that were confrontational, each of them had presented undeviating mental complaints.

9.In an article it stated that solitary in fact has lasting effects, "Human beings are social creatures. Without the benefit of another person to "bounce off of," the mind decays; without anything to do, the brain atrophies; and without the ability to see off in the distance, vision fades. Isolation and loss of control breeds anger, anxiety, and hopelessness." (George Dvorsky) Back then in the 1820s it was believed that isolating and separating the prisoners would be rehabilitative and that it would make them seriously think about their behavior and their crimes while distanced from negative external influences. Solitary Confinement was perceived as a socially and morally progressive way to deal with punishment but throughout time it has been proven to make things worse. So although prison does not make it better, solitary is restricted of all that the regular inmates have. SO yes it may make things worse being in solitary. It may make them see "Oh I can still be punished within this punishment" but it has been proven to be no different than the general confinement.

10.But in the general prison they have TV, others to interact, "Play time", activities, they can even work. They have more things they can keep their minds distracted.
Debate Round No. 3
kenny_s

Pro

1) Solitary confinement is s a form of imprisonment in which a prisoner is isolated from any human contact, though often with the exception of members of prison staff.

2) As i stated before, solitary helps keep the correctional officer out of harms way. Being that correctional officers have one of the most dangerous jobs they should be allowed to ensure their own safety in whichever way they seem fit.

3) Even though prison is a dangerous place, inmates cannot be derived of their safety either. If there is an image that is dangerous or causes problems, they must be separated from the general population.

4) Even though information shows that solitary confinement can cause mental issues, a case can be made that those inmates that are in solitary for a long period of time already have mental issues and should be separated from the general population.

5) The inmates need another form of discipline within the prison if they keep causing trouble. Dangerous behavior must not be left alone for the safety of inmates and correctional officers.

6) The inmates must respect authority. They already come into prison with no respect and if it is not instilled in them then the prison can become a very dangerous place.

7) Solitary confinement is expensive, but the positives outweigh the cost of it.
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8) Therefore, the Us should keep putting prisoners in solitary confinement
la_mun3ca158

Con

1.I agree with your definition, it is a form of punishment that isolates and denies the basic human need to interact with others.

2.Although it protects the corrections officer, solitary confinement does not protect the inmate who goes into solitary. Putting inmates in solitary confinement can worsen their behavior and make even worse to the inmates who are already mentally unstable, violent and suicidal.

3.Yes there may be on several occasions that someone is dangerous or causing problems, but obviously they are going to be like that they are in jail struggling to live day by day because no one is ever really safe in there. Separating them is adding fuel to the fire since they will be coming out of solitary with all these mental health complaints.

4.Yes solitary confinement does cause mental health concerns and yes those inmates that are in solitary for a long period of time have already developed those mental health concerns for being in there for a long period of time. That"s exactly what I am arguing, that is why we should NOT put them in solitary confinement.

5.Another form of discipline is not letting them out of their cells, that"s another form of confinement within the prison. You are right dangerous behavior cannot be left alone for the safety of the inmates and corrections officers, that is why keeping them in their cells is less risky than solitary confinement due to the fact it cause mental health issues.

6.Prison should also respect inmates and vice versa. But being that they have authority over other people"s lives they should really think of healthy ways of punishment when instilling "respect". Preferably something that can"t cause them long term harm.

7.Building a Solitary Confinement prisons is too expensive to build, house, maintain and manage. We should be making educational facilities that are beneficial for education, we can build house and manage schools, hospitals or even math centers. That"s why the US should not put prisoners into Solitary Confinement.

8.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 that other forms of confinement" (Shalev, 2009).

9.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).

C. Therefore, the US should keep putting prisoners in solitary confinement.
Debate Round No. 4
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