The Instigator
kenny_s
Pro (for)
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The Contender
Kunjal4
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: 1/23/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 484 times Debate No: 68829
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.

Non-Controversial premise- Premise one is a simple definition of solitary confinement

Controversial Premises- Premises 2,3,4,5,6 are controversial because they are positives points about solitary confinement, which is being debated as something that is cruel and unusual punishment.
Kunjal4

Con

1)I agree with my opponent"s definition of solitary confinement in which a prisoner is isolated from any human contact, though often with the exception of members of prison staff.
2)I agree that solitary confinement helps insure the safety of the correctional officers but research suggests that solitary confinement creates more violence both inside and outside prison walls (Vazquez, 2013).
3)I don"t agree with premise 4 that it serves as discipline because these prisoners come out of solitary confinement with more problems then they went in with, for example it does psychological harm, causes hallucinations, anger, depression and suicidal thoughts.
4)I disagree with premise 5, because regardless of having authority, people still tend to break the law and cause chaos, even with their being authority inside a prison.
5)It may help one to reflect what they did but it violates the 8th and 14th amendment where no one should be subjected to cruel and unusual punishments.
6)Solitary confinement causes social withdrawals.
7)Solitary confinement is expensive and the money should be used towards other more beneficial purposes.
8)Harlow"s experiment with rhesus monkeys inside a custom designed solitary chamber show the negative effect isolation had on these monkeys, in which it "obliterated the animals socially" (Breslow, 2014) and this is similar to solitary confinement.
9)Thus, the U.S. should not put prisoners in solitary confinement.

Non- Controversial: Premise 1 and 6. In premise 1, I am agreeing with my opponent on the definition of solitary confinement. In premise 6, I am simply stating what can happen from solitary confinement.

Controversial: Premises 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, and 9. In premise 2, my partner may not think it creates more violence. In premise 3, my partner may not agree that these are the results for every inmate that is released from solitary confinement. In premise 5, "cruel and unusual punishment" is vague. In premise 7, my opponent may argue what is beneficial and beneficial is vague. In premise 8, comparing the experiment to solitary confinement may not be the same, even though it is the same idea.
Debate Round No. 1
kenny_s

Pro

1) I agree that it can cause violence, but inmates who are already being violent must be separated and disciplined. If this violence continues without being disciplined it can be dangerous for all the other inmates and the correctional officers.

2) I do agree that i can cause some mental issues, but i does serve as a form of discipline. They are restricted to the bare necessities because they have broken the rules or disobeyed the correctional officers. For solitary confinement to have a lasting psychological effect on an inmate they must serve a long period of time in solitary, to get an extended sentence they must have done something to deserve it.

3) If there is not a sense of authority in the prison, it can lead to very dangerous things for example riots. Even though there is still disrespect towards authority, the inmates will still think twice before they disrespect authority enough to land themselves in solitary.

4) Stating that solitary confinement violates the 8th and 14th amendment is debatable on its own. What are the standards to which you determine something as "cruel and unusual."

5) There are negative effects to solitary confinement, but as i stated before its a punishment that they caused.

6) Solitary confinement is expensive, but it helps keep inmates and correctional officer safe by separating the dangerous inmates. These correctional officers are highly outnumbered and are put in serious risk everyday they go into work, they should be able to separated inmates that are dangerous.
Kunjal4

Con

1)In such cases for safety reasons, other inmates can be put in protective custody, in which they are segregated from general prison population for their safety (Turner, 2003). Even if these inmates were to go into the yard, they are ushered for safety reasons, so they should not necessarily be put into solitary confinement for that.
2)It is not necessarily true that one has to be in solitary confinement for a long period of time to have lasting psychological effects.
3)I agree that having no source of authority would cause more chaos because no one is there to control the prisoners but even if there are prison guards, riots and fights break out on a regular day basis. The guards try to control the situation and do the best of their ability but they would not be put into solitary confinement unless they committed a severe act of crime.
4)"Cruel and Unusual" punishment would be a degrading treatment or punishment in some form of torture. Torture would be the act of causing someone pain, either physical or emotional, for a confession.
5)Solitary confinement also leads prisoners to suicidal thoughts. They start to believe that the only way out is to take their own lives. Why would we make someone prefer death as a solution to not just this but any problem overall?
6)Taking the story of Sam Mandez into consideration. He was put into prison and then solitary confinement for 16 years for a murder that wasn"t proven and is now mentally ill. He tells doctors he has 11 children, married to Lyssa Chapman, and that we was an architect for Denver International Airport. He is said to be suffering from various forms of psychosis. This is the effect solitary confinement had on one single prisoner (Cohen, 2013).
7)There are also many cases in which individuals are put into solitary confinement for falsely accused crimes. Knowing that our criminal justice system has made mistakes in the past, why should the punishment be so severe in which the individual could be psychologically fine coming into prison but leaves in a much worse condition?
8)Solitary confinement also violates human dignity. We would not keep animals in this condition in lab for experiments so why should we treat humans like that? They are deprived of phone calls and any contact with person relationships, in which isolation as extreme as this makes it harder for them to being relationships with outsiders when they are released.
Debate Round No. 2
kenny_s

Pro

1) Other inmates shouldn't have to be put in protective custody just because there is an inmate who is deemed to be dangerous. The inmate that is causing all the trouble is the one that needs to be punished and separated.

2) It is also not necessarily true that everyone who goes into solitary confinement is going to come out mentally ill. For example, a family member of mine was put into solitary confinement for 2 months and he did come out with any mental illness. Solitary confinement made him thick twice before doing something that will get him solitary confinement.

3) I agree that there are fights on a regular basis, but those fights can be taken care of by the correctional officer. Now when it comes to a point that things get life threatening, then there must be severe punishment put into place.

4) I agree with your definition of cruel and unusual, but to call solitary confinement torture is debatable.

5) Solitary confinement may lead to suicidal thoughts, but to have those feelings the inmate must be in solitary confinement for an extended period of time. To land and extended period of time in solitary confinement, the act must have been severe. The inmate was not thinking about all the consequences when they committed the act.

6) As you stated, that is the effect on one person. I agree that solitary confinement can be heavy on the an inmate's mental state, but as i stated before to be in solitary confinement for 16 years he must have done something really severe. How are we so sure that Sam Mendez didn't have his own mental issues before he was put into solitary confinement.

7) For the most part whoever is in solitary confinement did something severe to deserve the time they got. Solitary confinement is used as a punishment, inmates are not put into solitary for no reason.

8) Lab animals are also used for chemical testing which we wouldn't do on humans. Are these inmates entitled to dignity? These inmates are in prison for various different crimes from drug possession to murder and everything in between. They weren't thinking about their dignity then. Were they thinking of the dignity of the person they victimized?
Kunjal4

Con

1) Yes agreed but what if one specific inmate that was not causing trouble was the one who was being targeted and harassed by the others. Then shouldn't he himself be put into protective custody for his own safety. This would be better financially to keeping only sending one prisoner to protective custody rather then having a group of prisoners sent there. They would save much more money.
2) Premise 3: That is not always the case though. They may not be there when the riot or fight break out so they can't even help to stop it. Even outside of prison, we live in a society where even though the government has rules and regulations, people still break them and do not act accordingly. The first example would be the prisoners.
3) These inmates do not have to be in solitary confinement for long to develop suicidal thoughts though. Everyone has a different tolerance when it comes to being isolated or being cramped up in a small room. Also I agree, the inmate most likely does not think about all the consequences when they are committing the act, so why should we punish them so severely for something that could have been for self defense or by accident?
4) Stating from the article, Sam Mendez did not gave any previous psychological issues.
5) So what you're saying is, just because one individual makes a mistake, we should follow that same one? It is part of the constitution that they shouldn't put one against "cruel and inhumane punishments", so if we were to disregard the constitution, we might as well disregard everything else that has to do with law.
6) Humans need to socialize and interact with their surroundings and also are curious about what goes on around them. Being put into solitary confinement, they are snatched from these rights.
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) 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.

7) Solitary confinement is expensive, but it helps keep inmates and correctional officer safe by separating the dangerous inmates. These correctional officers are highly outnumbered and are put in serious risk everyday they go into work, they should be able to separated inmates that are dangerous.
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8) Therefore, the US should keep putting prisoners in solitary confinement.
Kunjal4

Con

Con
1)I agree with my opponent"s definition of solitary confinement in which a prisoner is isolated from any human contact, though often with the exception of members of prison staff.

2) I don"t agree that it serves as discipline because these prisoners come out of solitary confinement with more problems then they went in with, for example it does psychological harm, causes hallucinations, anger, depression and suicidal thoughts.

3) It may help one to reflect what they did but it violates the 8th and 14th amendment where no one should be subjected to cruel and unusual punishments.

4)Solitary confinement is expensive and the money should be used towards other more beneficial purposes.

5) Harlow"s experiment with rhesus monkeys inside a custom designed solitary chamber show the negative effect isolation had on these monkeys, in which it "obliterated the animals socially" (Breslow, 2014) and this is similar to solitary confinement.

6) Having no source of authority would cause more chaos because no one is there to control the prisoners but even if there are prison guards, riots and fights break out on a regular day basis. The guards try to control the situation and do the best of their ability but they would not be put into solitary confinement unless they committed a severe act of crime.

7)"Cruel and Unusual" punishment would be a degrading treatment or punishment in some form of torture. Torture would be the act of causing someone pain, either physical or emotional, for a confession.

8) Solitary confinement also leads prisoners to suicidal thoughts. They start to believe that the only way out is to take their own lives. Why would we make someone prefer death as a solution to not just this but any problem overall?

9) Taking the story of Sam Mandez into consideration. He was put into prison and then solitary confinement for 16 years for a murder that wasn"t proven and is now mentally ill. He tells doctors he has 11 children, married to Lyssa Chapman, and that we was an architect for Denver International Airport. He is said to be suffering from various forms of psychosis. This is the effect solitary confinement had on one single prisoner (Cohen, 2013).

10) Solitary confinement also violates human dignity. We would not keep animals in this condition in lab for experiments so why should we treat humans like that? They are deprived of phone calls and any contact with person relationships, in which isolation as extreme as this makes it harder for them to being relationships with outsiders when they are released

11)Thus, the U.S. should not put prisoners in solitary confinement.
Debate Round No. 4
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