The Instigator
m.tillack
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
lizame11
Con (against)
Winning
4 Points

THE UNITED STATE government should decrease overcrowding in prisons and jails

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
lizame11
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/8/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,163 times Debate No: 54284
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)

 

m.tillack

Pro

Issue:

Wheather the United State government should adopt a nationwide policy to decrease overcrowding in prisons and jails in the United States.

According to the website:

http://www.alec.org...

"There is currently not enough space in prisons for all convicted criminals to fully serve their sentences. This leads to the early release of offenders who are not ready to successfully reenter the community. The emergency release of offenders out the back door, in an effort to free up space for those at the front door, threatens the public safety of communities"

Premises 1
Having overcrowding prisons and jails is linked to early release of offenders which threatens the safety of our community.

According to the website:

http://gov.ca.gov...

"the current severe overcrowding in 29 CDCR prisons has caused substantial risk to the health and safety of the men and women who work inside these prisons and the inmates housed in them, because:

A. With so many inmates housed in large common areas, there is an increased, substantial risk of violence, and greater difficulty controlling large inmate populations.

B. With large numbers of inmates housed together in triple-bunks, there is an increased, substantial risk for transmission of infectious illnesses.

C.The triple-bunks and tight quarters create line-of-sight problems for correctional officers by blocking views, creating an increased, substantial security risk"

Premise 2

Having a overcrowding prison poses many safety and health issues for the prison guards and inmates such as an increase risk of violence and spreading infectious diseases.

Also, according to

http://gov.ca.gov...

A overcrowding prisons causes an overload in " the prison sewage and wastewater systems [ which] has resulted in the discharge of waste beyond treatment capacity, resulting in thousands of gallons of sewage spills and environmental contamination"

" And when the prisons 'overdischarge' waste, bacteria can contaminate the drinking water supply, putting the public"s health at an increased, substantial risk"

Premise 3
A overcrowding prison causes sewage spills which can contaminate the public's drinking water with bacteria posing an health issue for the general public.

Conclusion

The United State government should adopt a nationwide policy to decrease overcrowding in prisons and jails in the United States
lizame11

Con

Premise 1:
Your first premise is a bit confusing, early release of offenders would be a remedy to your conclusion which is that, "The United State government should adopt a nationwide policy to decrease overcrowding in prisons and jails in the United States", but you state that early release would be a bad thing, so I'm not sure what you mean. As far as you stating that offenders that are released early would pose a threat to the safety of our community is not true, because most people who get released early do so when they commit non violent offenses.

Premise 2:
Overcrowded prisons are not the source of increase violence and neither is the spread of infectious diseases, but rather the fact that prisons house rival gangs and diseases spread whether they are overcrowded or not. Violence in prison is going to happen regardless especially with violent offenders who have rival members housed in the same facility.

Premise 3:
Criminal offenders get sentenced what they do for a reason and should not be lessened over something like overcrowding. The first issue that would occur is that this type of tactic would be arbitrary. If one part of the United States is lessening sentences due to overcrowding, it would not be fair to others everywhere else. The general way of thinking is that you can do certain crimes in certain areas because you will barely be punished for it.

Conclusion:
The United States should not adopt a nationwide policy to decrease overcrowding in prisons and jails in the United States.
Debate Round No. 1
m.tillack

Pro

premises 1 -Ok what i mean about premise 1 is inmates get release early is influence on overcrowding in prison. so they get release without successfully complete their terms. i understand your position is those who get release early are non-violent offenders who commit non-violent crimes. i would have to diasgree on your statement because what not to say that violent offenders would start to act like non-violent offenders just to come out. once these offenders are out they will commit violent crimes again. therefore, the government should decrease overcrowding in prsion by adoptingbetter policies to screen who gets out and who do not. One way of doing this is to build more prisons so nobody gets out and their is enough space to accommodate all prisoners until they satifiy their terms, rather than to pick who sentence get shorten just to free up prison space.

Premises 2- i totally agree. But you must have misunderstand me. i was not thinking of violence in terms of gangs when i was writing my second premises. i was thinking of violence as when a non-violent inmate is house with a violent inmate because of overcrowding in prison. The violent inmate in this argument is generally not a gang member but just violent. when this occurs, the non-violent inmate will learn to get violent in prison just to survive. when he gets early release to society ( since you say in the previous premises, people who get "released early do so when they commit non violent offenses") will more likely to become violent when he get out. therefore, they either must be better screening on who gets out or build bigger prison and nobody gets out.

premises 3- your last premises is a little bit confusing. are you saying that because nonviolent offenders get release early, it is not fair for people who commits more violent crimes?
lizame11

Con

Premise 1:
Whether violent offenders start "acting non violent" is irrelevant because the state is not going to choose someone who has murdered or committed aggravated assault in the streets as opposed to someone incarcerated for something non violent like possession of marijuana. So even if they "act non violent" they will be less likely to let go over someone else. Building more prisons would just increase spending which could be used for education. The federal budget for incarceration and education comes from within the same bracket so the more money you spend on building prisons the less there is for higher education. This would actually contribute even more to overcrowding because the people associated to committing crimes are usually uneducated.
http://prospect.org...

Premise 2:
I didn't mean that the people in prison were inherently in a gang already sometimes they are formed in prison. What I meant to say was that overcrowding is not the reason for violence in prison. People in prison are already dangerous and can be violent to begin with. Many times they segregate themselves and form groups which can lead to rival group formation and may lead to fights. So whether it's overcrowded or not violence will still most likely occur.

Premise 3:
What I meant in my last argument is that lessening sentences in cities or states that are overcrowded would make the policy arbitrary. For example if the government says that once a prison has reached a certain amount we should lessen sentences to avoid overcrowding that sort of act is unfair. Some part of the country where prisons fill up quicker will have people not serving their full term whereas places who do not fill up their prisons will have to serve their full sentences. That would create a huge problem in the country.
Debate Round No. 2
m.tillack

Pro

Premise 1 - I Agree that the American government should use our tax dollars to fund schools rather than to fun prisons. yet I still believe if the money goes to funding prisons than for school, it will benefits society as an whole, because not only will new prison be needed to keep up with the increase of prison population, but it will protect society as an whole.

Premise 2- there is also an issue of overcrowding and the public water supply. overcrowded prisons increase the chances of water spills because the massive amount of water the inmate uses at the same time. When that water spills and get into our water supply, it can post a risk to the public health. Therefore, more prisons should be built so less spills can occur in our main sewage. The more overcrowded a prison is, the more likely a sewage spill will occur.

Premise 3- I understand that lessen a sentences of an individual just to avoid having a overcrowded prison is arbitrary. That is why the government needs to create new and more fair policy towards overcrowding in prisons. Also, I degree with my opponent, overcrowded prisons does increase the chances of violence among inmate. When people are cram together in society, they starts to act aggressive toward each other, compare if they have space in prison. Therefore we should build more prison. Not only new prison will create jobs but also will help to decrease violence within our prison system.
lizame11

Con

Premise 1:
If the federal government were to spend less for prisons and more for education, crime would reduce significantly. According to http://sites.psu.edu... the lowest performing schools were in areas in which incarceration rates were highest. Instead of spending millions of dollars or more creating new prisons, hiring more officers, paying high salaries to wardens, and housing even more prisoners, we should invest in education to stop the vicious cycle of people committing crimes. Education is directly linked to crime committing. Right now the average student pays anywhere from $10,000-$20,000 a year for their education whereas our tax dollars spend about $168,000 per prisoner each year in New York City. http://www.nytimes.com...
For each prisoner we spend on we could have educated about 17 college students for a year.

Premise 2:
I see no evidence supporting that water spills and a risk to our public health is directly linked to overcrowded prisons.

Premise 3:
Since you mentioned that more space in prisons decrease violence, I do not believe that creating more prisons would be the answer for the reason stated on Premise 1, but rather to change the policy in decriminalizing certain non violent offenses. We have people serving sentences for shoplifting small items and a for possession of small amount of recreational drugs. Sending someone to prison for retribution, which is why we send Americans to jail, sends the message that they must pay back society for the harm they have done. But if they are using something like marijuana, they are only "harming" themselves, so why should they be incarcerated? Locking people away gives the idea that they are not fit to be in society and perhaps pose a threat, therefore I do not believe that certain non violent offenses should be given prison time. Changing the laws in how we criminalize can solve the issue you mentioned not by building more prisons.
http://rt.com...
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
RFD:

Pro's Arguments:

Honestly, I thought the R1 arguments were pretty good. The source for them wasn't very strong, since the gov.ca.gov link is just a position statement for new policy rather than a source for the specific information that you're getting, but the arguments themselves weren't bad.

Then Pro proceeded to drop nearly every warrant in them. Just to point to a few that would have helped in defending his premises in later rounds:

"A. With so many inmates housed in large common areas, there is an increased, substantial risk of violence, and greater difficulty controlling large inmate populations.

B. With large numbers of inmates housed together in triple-bunks, there is an increased, substantial risk for transmission of infectious illnesses.

C.The triple-bunks and tight quarters create line-of-sight problems for correctional officers by blocking views, creating an increased, substantial security risk"

"the prison sewage and wastewater systems [ which] has resulted in the discharge of waste beyond treatment capacity, resulting in thousands of gallons of sewage spills and environmental contamination"

Each of these could have been used for support of the major arguments, since Con never addressed them directly. Instead, Con sought to mitigate these points by stating that there were other causes, despite the fact that Pro had provided specific ways in which they were caused by overcrowding. However, since Pro didn't pull through this analysis, I'm not going to be doing it for him.

But onto what was pulled through.

Pro really needed to make a clear statement of what his advocacy was from the outset. As the only one stated in R1 (though it wasn't explicitly his policy) was letting inmates out early, that's the main policy I considered in this debate. I am going to speak to the changes in policy and the creation of new facilities, but I don't consider these a part of Pro's case, since he only mentioned them in later rounds.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
On early release " I'm really not seeing a strong argument here for early release. Pro tells me that it's beneficial for reducing prison population sizes, but that's dependent on the other arguments being accurate (I'll get to those shortly). Meanwhile, Con is giving me a specific turn, telling me that criminals will flock to areas where there are large prison populations such that they can commit crimes without worrying about long incarceration times. I would have bought a number of responses to this (sending criminals elsewhere and they're still going to be incarcerated come to mind), but I didn't see any, so this point stands as beneficial for Con.

On changing policy " Pro never specifies what the change should look like, and why it's different from status quo. Con tells me that the general change he discusses is nothing new, since the only ones released early are nonviolent offenders, and I buy that. This point is moot.

On making more prisons " This one just blows up in Pro's face. I think there are a number of good responses that aren't used by Con (many places don't want a prison in their backyard, more sites for prisons can depress housing prices), but they're really unnecessary when I'm buying his response that all the costs for building, staffing, and housing prisoners in a prison are coming out of education. I think this is Pro's biggest mistake " I get that Con is providing a warrant in saying that they are in the same bracket in the federal budget, but the reasoning that every dollar that goes into prisons comes out of education seems pretty ridiculous to me. Pro grants that analysis, and thus I'm forced to buy every argument Con makes about how reduced education will be a big problem and increase the prison population, countering anything Pro stands to gain. This is just a huge turn on case, and it's enough for me to vote on alone.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
A brief word on Pro's two major arguments:

These are health and violence. Speaking as a microbiologist, the health issue is very real, and the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria is particularly bad in prison settings. Studies to this effect are really not hard to find. It's not just about sewage, it's about close spaces, being inside most of the time, being isolated from the larger society, and generally lacking the necessary medical funds. There's a lot here to solve, but reducing overcrowding might make a substantial difference.

But I don't see these arguments. Instead, I see a point about how sewage will get out and mingle with other sewage. Trouble here is that sewage is only a problem if it gets near food sources or drinking water. I never see that warrant, so I lack the basic analysis I need to connect the dots here. There might be some health harm, but it's not a strong point.

On violence, I think there were several good points (as I showed) made in R1. The spread of violence through a prison population is bad, I agree, but I need to see evidence that the propensity for violence would spread, and then a reason why Pro's policy would affect that. I see some very basic, unwarranted analysis that starts to look like this, but it never really gets down to the point.

Summary:

Pro lets Con get away with murder (not literally, figuratively) in this debate, and it destroys his arguments, leading to his loss in this debate. Also, Pro, please take the time to at least spell check your posts, after the first round they were all hard to read (and there only because most of it was quoting the citation).
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
m.tillacklizame11Tied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Given in comments.