The Instigator
mongeese
Pro (for)
Losing
7 Points
The Contender
Aziar44
Con (against)
Winning
31 Points

The Death Penalty makes more sense than Solitary Confinement for Life.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
Aziar44
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/20/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 7,248 times Debate No: 7912
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (18)
Votes (6)

 

mongeese

Pro

Okay, I think that the death penalty makes much more sense than does solitary confinement for life. I'd like to provide a reason:

The taxpayers of the country that the criminal broke the laws of have to suffer from paying for food, medicine, and security for said criminal.

I'd like for whoever accepts this debate to give their reasoning for why they believe that the latter is a better solution than the former.

Also, I'd like this debate to be ideological, without outside sources.

Thank you.
Aziar44

Con

Hello Mongeese,

I hope this makes for a good argument!

I will give a short opening here, stating that Solitary Confinement for Life makes more sense than the death penalty.

My first argument, is that in fact, executing one inmate costs more than keeping that person alive for a lifetime in prison. So, it is no burden on taxpayers. In fact, the death penalty is more of a tax burden.

On a more ideological note, I believe it is important to err on the side of life in this issue. DNA testing and new technologies have vindicated people on death row in the past. Why take a chance putting someone to death when there is that small chance he/she may be innocent? It is far worse to kill an innocent man than to let a guilty one free.

The death penalty also gets rid of the idea of redemption in life. Sure, someone may find God or something on death row, but what chance have they to redeem themselves in life? They will always be horrible murderers in the eyes of the public. Convicted murderers who have gotten the chance of life imprisonment have done some very good things with their lives, such as that one lady involved in the Manson family slayings.

These are just some opening thoughts. More details and debate to come!
Debate Round No. 1
mongeese

Pro

Thank you for your cooperation. This debate is now both ideological and source-based.

"My first argument, is that in fact, executing one inmate costs more than keeping that person alive for a lifetime in prison. So, it is no burden on taxpayers. In fact, the death penalty is more of a tax burden."

Okay, what if the criminal in question was fined an amount equivalent to the cost of the court case? This would be an easy solution. As long as the criminal carries the burden of the cost, the taxpayers pay nothing.

"On a more ideological note, I believe it is important to err on the side of life in this issue. DNA testing and new technologies have vindicated people on death row in the past. Why take a chance putting someone to death when there is that small chance he/she may be innocent? It is far worse to kill an innocent man than to let a guilty one free."

New technologies should be applied BEFORE the person is placed on death row. Once a person is PROVEN to be guilty, he is guilty, and thus may deserve the death penalty, depending on the severity of the case. Killing an innocent man can be avoided. It is very hard to frame someone into a death penalty.

"The death penalty also gets rid of the idea of redemption in life. Sure, someone may find God or something on death row, but what chance have they to redeem themselves in life? They will always be horrible murderers in the eyes of the public. Convicted murderers who have gotten the chance of life imprisonment have done some very good things with their lives, such as that one lady involved in the Manson family slayings."

It is kind of hard to do anything good for society while in solitary confinement. http://www.cnn.com... It is kind of hard to be "model prisoners" when there's nobody that you can communicate with, and nobody to observe you. This debate is for solitary confinement vs. death penalty, not life sentence vs. death penalty. Also, for religious purposes, anyone on death row should be given about a month to do anything they need to do before they die, such as writing wills or going to church to find God.

Finally, what do you think that these prisoners do while they're in solitary confinement for life? There's really only one thing they can do: plot a breakout. The prisoners have no purpose in life, unless they break free. This is a bit torturous, and constant breakouts would only add to the cost of security, which is a problem right there. This is, in my opinion, one of the major problems of solitary confinement, that can only be fixed by abolishing solitary confinement.

In conclusion, the death penalty makes more sense than solitary confinement for life, because the death penalty gets it over with, while a life sentence gives you many more worthless years with nothing to do, except escaping, which only puts even more of a burden on the rest of us.
Aziar44

Con

"Okay, what if the criminal in question was fined an amount equivalent to the cost of the court case? This would be an easy solution. As long as the criminal carries the burden of the cost, the taxpayers pay nothing."

-Expecting a criminal to pay upwards of 3 million dollars is unreasonable (see one of my links in the comment section for the exact numbers), not because it is a burden on the criminal, but because few murderers will be able to pay that money in any form. Therefore, the burden will have to fall on the taxpayers. This can easily be avoided by using solitary confinement instead of the death penalty. In fact, solitary confinement would be especially cheap since it would get rid of the problem of having to pay more for facilities and Internet usage that some prisoners receive.

"New technologies should be applied BEFORE the person is placed on death row. Once a person is PROVEN to be guilty, he is guilty, and thus may deserve the death penalty, depending on the severity of the case. Killing an innocent man can be avoided. It is very hard to frame someone into a death penalty."

-To this point, I will say that 130 people have been exonerated from death row from DNA evidence as of late last year. That is 130 innocent people who were condemned to die. How many more are killed by the death penalty who are innocent? We can never know... Solitary confinement at least gives them the chance to be exonerated if they are innocent, which does indeed occur. To me, the government execution of one innocent person is entirely unacceptable and any practice that allows for that possibility so blatantly is immoral.

-Another argument against the death penalty and for solitary confinement for life is that death is actually less punitive. Solitary confinement forces the prisoner to think about their actions for a lifetime. They do not get the luxury of dying a quick death. Their life is now restricted to one room, with no contact with outsiders, basically. Death row inmates do not have such restrictive prison lives before they finally get a quick death. Which is more punitive? A lifetime of being alone in a small cell, where you contemplate the atrocity you have committed? Or a less restricted prison stay with the end result PROBABLY being your quick death. Justice is not necessarily eye for an eye. If you really want to punish someone, make them live like this from the beginning of their guilty verdict. This isn't the main crux of my argument, it's just another point to bring up.

"In conclusion, the death penalty makes more sense than solitary confinement for life, because the death penalty gets it over with, while a life sentence gives you many more worthless years with nothing to do, except escaping, which only puts even more of a burden on the rest of us."

-Who does the death penalty "get it over with" for? The prisoner? Are you saying you support it because it's quicker for the prisoner? In that case, isn't it not really that much of a punishment, as I stated in my above paragraph?
Also, to say the prisoners have no purpose/meaning in life simply because they are in solitary confinement seems slightly superficial. Meaning can certainly be found in such situations.

-I will give you the points about Solitary Confinement and being able to do things, as I briefly forgot that I was fighting for solitary confinement over death penalty, not just jail time.
Debate Round No. 2
mongeese

Pro

Expecting a criminal to pay upwards of 3 million dollars is unreasonable (see one of my links in the comment section for the exact numbers), not because it is a burden on the criminal, but because few murderers will be able to pay that money in any form. Therefore, the burden will have to fall on the taxpayers. This can easily be avoided by using solitary confinement instead of the death penalty. In fact, solitary confinement would be especially cheap since it would get rid of the problem of having to pay more for facilities and Internet usage that some prisoners receive."
Your solitary confinement would require individual bathrooms. Also, perhaps the government could "sell" the death of the criminal to the movie business to use in a scene in which they would have to fake an actor being killed, or they could sell the rights to perform the execution. I'm reminded of a scene from the show NCIS:
Interrogator: "How do you feel right now?"
Suspect: "I feel like killing someone, SIR."
Interrogator: "Anyone in particular?"
Suspect: "Anyone will do, SIR."

"-To this point, I will say that 130 people have been exonerated from death row from DNA evidence as of late last year. That is 130 innocent people who were condemned to die. How many more are killed by the death penalty who are innocent? We can never know... Solitary confinement at least gives them the chance to be exonerated if they are innocent, which does indeed occur. To me, the government execution of one innocent person is entirely unacceptable and any practice that allows for that possibility so blatantly is immoral."
For one thing, I'd like some proof to back up your numbers. For another, you didn't really respond to what I said. You said nothing about applying the technologies sooner, or how someone could frame someone for a death sentence... so those points have been conceded. Also, how long does it take for a guy to be proven innocent from death row after he has been proven guilty? A month? A year? Finally, what you think is immoral is not immoral to the rest of the people.

"-Another argument against the death penalty and for solitary confinement for life is that death is actually less punitive. Solitary confinement forces the prisoner to think about their actions for a lifetime. They do not get the luxury of dying a quick death. Their life is now restricted to one room, with no contact with outsiders, basically. Death row inmates do not have such restrictive prison lives before they finally get a quick death. Which is more punitive? A lifetime of being alone in a small cell, where you contemplate the atrocity you have committed? Or a less restricted prison stay with the end result PROBABLY being your quick death. Justice is not necessarily eye for an eye. If you really want to punish someone, make them live like this from the beginning of their guilty verdict. This isn't the main crux of my argument, it's just another point to bring up."
If the prisoner would rather die than live a worthless life, because there's really no point in stopping him. He could strangle himself, or starve himself, or beat his head on the wall repeatedly. It's also really hard to find God without the help of a priest, unless you're already a Christian. Also, why would you want to keep someone alive if they're never going to actually do anything with it? And what about writing their will? If they're locked up in solitary confinement, it becomes really hard to contact your lawyer for such purposes. Could you give an example of meaning in life after imprisonment? Extended meaning in life? A prisoner could attack the guy who gives him food, and get out. Also, if a prison full of solitarily confined inmates suddenly gets hit by a flood or an earthquake, and the building collapses, and all of the inmates escape, then, well, there's a hundred more criminals out on the streets.

"-Who does the death penalty "get it over with" for? The prisoner? Are you saying you support it because it's quicker for the prisoner? In that case, isn't it not really that much of a punishment, as I stated in my above paragraph?
Also, to say the prisoners have no purpose/meaning in life simply because they are in solitary confinement seems slightly superficial. Meaning can certainly be found in such situations."
I'm not supporting it because it's quicker for the criminal; I'm supporting it because it's quicker for the rest of us. A person's right to life ends where they tried to take that right away from another.

"-I will give you the points about Solitary Confinement and being able to do things, as I briefly forgot that I was fighting for solitary confinement over death penalty, not just jail time."
Thank you.
Aziar44

Con

Your solitary confinement would require individual bathrooms. Also, perhaps the government could "sell" the death of the criminal to the movie business to use in a scene in which they would have to fake an actor being killed, or they could sell the rights to perform the execution."

-The government capitalizing on the death of an individual like that? Selling one's death to the movie business? I would like to point out that the family of these murderers are a part of this too. If your father had murdered someone and had been sentenced to death, would you want it to be broadcast on TV or in the movies? That is a real human life, guilty or not.

-On that same note, isn't the death penalty really hurting those closest to these murderers in many cases? Loving parents, siblings and friends will have to endure the same pain that the family of the victim endured. Is that fair? Is it fair to want to put these innocent people through the same pain that you went through just because someone you know was murdered by someone they know? Justice is not eye for an eye; it is higher than revenge, and that's what the death penalty really is: vengeance.

-Also, individual bathrooms would hardly add up to the millions of dollars lost on the death penalty, so solitary confinement would absolutely be cheaper. Here are the citations you asked for:

http://www.opposingviews.com...
http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...

"For one thing, I'd like some proof to back up your numbers. For another, you didn't really respond to what I said. You said nothing about applying the technologies sooner, or how someone could frame someone for a death sentence... so those points have been conceded. Also, how long does it take for a guy to be proved innocent from death row after he has been proved guilty? A month? A year? Finally, what you think is immoral is not immoral to the rest of the people."

-It's possible to frame someone for a death sentence? Ever seen "The Life of David Gale?" Films aside though, the fact that people have been exonerated mean that technologies are NOT working, regardless of application. It's not a question of when, it's a question of new technologies always arising that help us determine people's guilt or innocence. We cannot simply speed up technologies that do that. They are created when they are created, thus application of technologies is not the issue; it is the DISCOVERY of new technologies that leads to exoneration so much of the time. The government executing one innocent person is tantamount to murder, is it not? Isn't killing an innocent person willfully, murder? If so, then the death penalty carries with it the probability that the government will murder someone.

"If the prisoner would rather die than live a worthless life, because there's really no point in stopping him. He could strangle himself, or starve himself, or beat his head on the wall repeatedly. It's also really hard to find God without the help of a priest, unless you're already a Christian. Also, why would you want to keep someone alive if they're never going to actually do anything with it? And what about writing their will? If they're locked up in solitary confinement, it becomes really hard to contact your lawyer for such purposes. Could you give an example of meaning in life after imprisonment? Extended meaning in life? A prisoner could attack the guy who gives him food, and get out. Also, if a prison full of solitarily confined inmates suddenly gets hit by a flood or an earthquake, and the building collapses, and all of the inmates escape, then, well, there's a hundred more criminals out on the streets."

-Firstly, I disagree entirely on the point of it being very difficult to find God without the help of a priest unless you're already a Christian. That statement also assumes the finding of a Christian god instead of any other religion's deity. Religion or spirituality can certainly be found on one's own.

-Secondly, as to your point about keeping someone alive who won't "do anything with [their life]", doesn't that have serious implications outside this example? With that belief comes the belief that anyone in a coma should be killed, anyone in a vegetative state should be killed, anyone who will not live past the age of 3 will be killed, etc. All of these can follow from your statement. Those people will not be doing anything with their lives either, so why not kill them as well? Now, there may be reasons to pull the plug on a vegetative-brained person, but the "they won't do anything with their life" argument is not one. Also, prisoners in solitary confinement will never be a danger to other prisoners. They won't be a danger to guards either if solitary confinement becomes the norm. There would be much less of a chance of a solitarily confined prisoners attacking a guard than one on death row.

-Thirdly, on the point of a flood or disaster crushing a jail and freeing prisoners: This seems a little off the mark to me. What if a flood hit a jail full of burglars? Burglars would be roaming the streets. Should we kill burglars so as to make sure they won't get out via natural disaster? If you have numbers as to how many prisoners have escaped via natural disaster, that would be helpful.

"I'm not supporting it because it's quicker for the criminal; I'm supporting it because it's quicker for the rest of us. A person's right to life ends where they tried to take that right away from another."

-A quick sentence of lifetime solitary confinement without any chance of parole would bring a quicker end. The punishment would be swift, the murderer would go to solitary forever, and there would be no long appeals process to keep the person of off death row because death row would not exist. Murderers stay on death row for a very long time and it draws out the process because taking a life is a big deal. If they were to simply meet their punishment immediately after sentencing, it would end the waiting and suffering of families of victims.

-As to your last point, "A person's right to life ends where they tried to take that right away from another": Just because you find that to be moral does not mean everyone does, to use your own words. :) I feel you must defend that point.
Debate Round No. 3
mongeese

Pro

"-The government capitalizing on the death of an individual like that? Selling one's death to the movie business? I would like to point out that the family of these murderers are a part of this too. If your father had murdered someone and had been sentenced to death, would you want it to be broadcast on TV or in the movies? That is a real human life, guilty or not."
Well, they lost their right to their life, as I'll expand on later, so technically, the government can do what is necessary to repay for those trials using that life.

"-On that same note, isn't the death penalty really hurting those closest to these murderers in many cases? Loving parents, siblings and friends will have to endure the same pain that the family of the victim endured. Is that fair? Is it fair to want to put these innocent people through the same pain that you went through just because someone you know was murdered by someone they know? Justice is not eye for an eye; it is higher than revenge, and that's what the death penalty really is: vengeance."
But if that relative is in solitary confinement, you still can't contact them, and they'd perhaps suffer even longer.

"-It's possible to frame someone for a death sentence? Ever seen 'The Life of David Gale'? Films aside though, the fact that people have been exonerated mean that technologies are NOT working, regardless of application. It's not a question of when, it's a question of new technologies always arising that help us determine people's guilt or innocence. We cannot simply speed up technologies that do that. They are created when they are created, thus application of technologies is not the issue; it is the DISCOVERY of new technologies that leads to exoneration so much of the time. The government executing one innocent person is tantamount to murder, is it not? Isn't killing an innocent person willfully, murder? If so, then the death penalty carries with it the probability that the government will murder someone."
I'm for the death penalty for people who are absolutely proven to be guilty; this means DNA evidence, security tapes, etc. People should most definitely not be put to a death penalty on only witnesses' testimonies, especially the contradictory ones mentioned in your source. If there isn't hardcore proof, a death penalty should even be attempted.

"-Firstly, I disagree entirely on the point of it being very difficult to find God without the help of a priest unless you're already a Christian. That statement also assumes the finding of a Christian god instead of any other religion's deity. Religion or spirituality can certainly be found on one's own."
Okay, I just assumed the Christianity thing. Sorry. It's just so much tougher to find spirituality without a priest or a book.

"-Secondly, as to your point about keeping someone alive who won't 'do anything with [their life]', doesn't that have serious implications outside this example? With that belief comes the belief that anyone in a coma should be killed, anyone in a vegetative state should be killed, anyone who will not live past the age of 3 will be killed, etc. All of these can follow from your statement. Those people will not be doing anything with their lives either, so why not kill them as well? Now, there may be reasons to pull the plug on a vegetative-brained person, but the 'they won't do anything with their life' argument is not one. Also, prisoners in solitary confinement will never be a danger to other prisoners. They won't be a danger to guards either if solitary confinement becomes the norm. There would be much less of a chance of a solitarily confined prisoners attacking a guard than one on death row."
When you're sentenced to solitary confinement for life, you have nothing left in life to enjoy, either, and they can't get out except through prison escape. http://en.wikipedia.org... Also, it is possible to come out of a coma. And as for vegetative states, that's another thing up for debate about whether to kill them or not. In that case, I'm in favor of family members deciding, but in a criminal case, it's up to the justice system. And I'm not talking about prisoners killing prisoners; I'm talking about prisoners attacking the security guard who has to feed him. People on death row can all be clumped into one room with much more security that individual cells.

"-Thirdly, on the point of a flood or disaster crushing a jail and freeing prisoners: This seems a little off the mark to me. What if a flood hit a jail full of burglars? Burglars would be roaming the streets. Should we kill burglars so as to make sure they won't get out via natural disaster? If you have numbers as to how many prisoners have escaped via natural disaster, that would be helpful."
I'm just saying that it's a potential hazard of keeping so many criminals in one place. I have no evidence that it has ever happened, but it quite easily could.

"-A quick sentence of lifetime solitary confinement without any chance of parole would bring a quicker end. The punishment would be swift, the murderer would go to solitary forever, and there would be no long appeals process to keep the person of off death row because death row would not exist. Murderers stay on death row for a very long time and it draws out the process because taking a life is a big deal. If they were to simply meet their punishment immediately after sentencing, it would end the waiting and suffering of families of victims."
But if they met their sentence immediately, whether it be solitary or death, then they'd lack the opportunity to write a will, or do any religious action, or anything else of the sort.

Now, to defend why a person's right to life ends once they take the right away from another. If you believe in an unalienable right, you must believe in it for both yourself and all other people. However, if you murder someone, you just took away their right to life, proving that you do not wish to honor such a right. If you do not honor such a right in someone else, you do not honor your own right to life. Thus, they lose their right to life. There, point defended. Continue to attack it, if you must.
Aziar44

Con

"Well, they lost their right to their life, as I'll expand on later, so technically, the government can do what is necessary to repay for those trials using that life."

- So would it be okay for the government to torture the convicted murderer before thier death if they found out that that would sell and recoup the costs? By your statement, the government can basically do anything they want in order to make back the millions of dollars lost by the death penalty, so they can torture these people. This is a violation of human rights.

"But if that relative is in solitary confinement, you still can't contact them, and they'd perhaps suffer even longer."

- Rarely do victims of families cry out for solitary confinement. They cry out for death. They want the murderer killed. But we cannot simply be swayed by the emotions that people get wrapped up in when these things occur. Justice should be above emotion. We all may feel like the killer of one of our loved ones should die, but justice is above emotion. Justice does not bow to impassioned cries of vengeance.

"I'm for the death penalty for people who are absolutely proven to be guilty; this means DNA evidence, security tapes, etc. People should most definitely not be put to a death penalty on only witnesses' testimonies, especially the contradictory ones mentioned in your source. If there isn't hardcore proof, a death penalty should even be attempted."

- Even if DNA evidence, security tapes and testimony all lines up and points the finger at one person, their life should not be taken, because of my above (and below) reasons.

"Okay, I just assumed the Christianity thing. Sorry. It's just so much tougher to find spirituality without a priest or a book."

- Well, I'll have to disagree with people not being able to find spirituality without a priest or book. People do not need organized religion or texts to give them spirituality. There was none of that stuff when mankind began; it had to come out of somewhere.

"When you're sentenced to solitary confinement for life, you have nothing left in life to enjoy, either, and they can't get out except through prison escape. http://en.wikipedia.org...... Also, it is possible to come out of a coma. And as for vegetative states, that's another thing up for debate about whether to kill them or not. In that case, I'm in favor of family members deciding, but in a criminal case, it's up to the justice system. And I'm not talking about prisoners killing prisoners; I'm talking about prisoners attacking the security guard who has to feed him. People on death row can all be clumped into one room with much more security that individual cells."

- I just think you're making a very blanket value judgment on the meaning of someone's life. Who's to say that people who are completely alone and solitary have less meaning than you or me? I think you are making ill-placed assumptions that a person's life is devoid of meaning if they have nothing or are not surrounded by others. One can do many things internally and find out many things just with reflection, for example.

- Also, it would be MUCH safer for the murderers to be locked up in solitary confinement. All you need to do is put some food through a slot in the locked door. Not too hard to protect oneself. Meanwhile, a whole room full of prisoners is much more volatile. How many prison riots do you see on those cop shows? A good deal. It's because there are so many criminals in one area. Security is in fact, less tight in these situations. Solitary confinement would be safest for guards.

"I'm just saying that it's a potential hazard of keeping so many criminals in one place. I have no evidence that it has ever happened, but it quite easily could."

- I feel as though that we are already keeping "so many criminals in one place" by having prisons in the first place. But we cannot simply kill them all because a natural disaster may or may not occur. It is illogical.

"But if they met their sentence immediately, whether it be solitary or death, then they'd lack the opportunity to write a will, or do any religious action, or anything else of the sort."

- Well, I did not mean straight from the courtroom right to solitary. They would have an opportunity to write a will and any other religious rites they might need (last meal of sorts or something). They would be allowed such things before they would go into solitary for the remainder of their lives.

"Now, to defend why a person's right to life ends once they take the right away from another. If you believe in an unalienable right, you must believe in it for both yourself and all other people. However, if you murder someone, you just took away their right to life, proving that you do not wish to honor such a right. If you do not honor such a right in someone else, you do not honor your own right to life. Thus, they lose their right to life. There, point defended. Continue to attack it, if you must."

- I must :) How is it a good idea to kill in order to teach people not to kill? Should I smoke cocaine in front of my kids if I don't wish them to do it? Also, who has the right to take away that life, if the murderer loses the right to life? Do I? Do you? Why does the government? If we go with the idea that a murderer loses the right to life as soon as he/she takes the life of another purposefully, who gets to take that murderer's life? There is no logical answer given your stance. Either we all can or no one can. I'm sure you don't advocate people running around killing around anyone who they deem a murderer, so the only other option is that no one can. In your philosophical stance on the right to life, there is no one who may take the life of anyone, really, and that should include punishments/vengeance.

- And government is certainly not the answer to this criticism. It is an imperfect judge and has killed innocent people in the past, making the entity of government a murderer itself, really. So are we allowed to let a murderer judge a murderer? I would think not.
Debate Round No. 4
mongeese

Pro

"So would it be okay for the government to torture the convicted murderer before their death if they found out that that would sell and recoup the costs? By your statement, the government can basically do anything they want in order to make back the millions of dollars lost by the death penalty, so they can torture these people. This is a violation of human rights."
The Constitution goes even further than anything the government can do. Torture is against the Constitution; the death penalty is not. And the Constitution says nothing about the movie business buying out a person for a death scene.

"- Rarely do victims of families cry out for solitary confinement. They cry out for death. They want the murderer killed. But we cannot simply be swayed by the emotions that people get wrapped up in when these things occur. Justice should be above emotion. We all may feel like the killer of one of our loved ones should die, but justice is above emotion. Justice does not bow to impassioned cries of vengeance."
The pain felt by the family members would be reflected in the pain felt in the family members of the death-penalized murderer. Emotions do not decide court cases. Evidence decides court cases.

"- Even if DNA evidence, security tapes and testimony all lines up and points the finger at one person, their life should not be taken, because of my above (and below) reasons."
Well, you have not defended your point by saying that it might still be false, so that point has been conceded.

"- Well, I'll have to disagree with people not being able to find spirituality without a priest or book. People do not need organized religion or texts to give them spirituality. There was none of that stuff when mankind began; it had to come out of somewhere."
Yes, but it would be much more difficult. It would be kind of hard to ask God for a sign if you're in solitary confinement. Also, people go mentally insane in prison. http://justana-justana.blogspot.com... This makes it much harder to acknowledge religion.

"- I just think you're making a very blanket value judgment on the meaning of someone's life. Who's to say that people who are completely alone and solitary have less meaning than you or me? I think you are making ill-placed assumptions that a person's life is devoid of meaning if they have nothing or are not surrounded by others. One can do many things internally and find out many things just with reflection, for example."
My assumptions are not ill-placed. If you sit in a cell for 30 years with nothing to do but reflect, your life means less than that of a person who actually contributes to the good of society. The government's main concern is the good of their jurisdiction and its society.

"- Also, it would be MUCH safer for the murderers to be locked up in solitary confinement. All you need to do is put some food through a slot in the locked door. Not too hard to protect oneself. Meanwhile, a whole room full of prisoners is much more volatile. How many prison riots do you see on those cop shows? A good deal. It's because there are so many criminals in one area. Security is in fact, less tight in these situations. Solitary confinement would be safest for guards."
You're comparing solitary confinement to ordinary prisons. However, a dead criminal is much less likely to attack a guard than a freedom-deprived one.

"- I feel as though that we are already keeping 'so many criminals in one place' by having prisons in the first place. But we cannot simply kill them all because a natural disaster may or may not occur. It is illogical."
No, it's a plausible reason as to why solitary confinement is worse than the death penalty.

"- Well, I did not mean straight from the courtroom right to solitary. They would have an opportunity to write a will and any other religious rites they might need (last meal of sorts or something). They would be allowed such things before they would go into solitary for the remainder of their lives."
I said the same thing about the death penalty. But at least you can't forget your religion between your last meal and your death, rather than perhaps an unpredictable thirty years in between.

"- I must :) How is it a good idea to kill in order to teach people not to kill? Should I smoke cocaine in front of my kids if I don't wish them to do it? Also, who has the right to take away that life, if the murderer loses the right to life? Do I? Do you? Why does the government? If we go with the idea that a murderer loses the right to life as soon as he/she takes the life of another purposefully, who gets to take that murderer's life? There is no logical answer given your stance. Either we all can or no one can. I'm sure you don't advocate people running around killing around anyone who they deem a murderer, so the only other option is that no one can. In your philosophical stance on the right to life, there is no one who may take the life of anyone, really, and that should include punishments/vengeance."
Killing is not necessarily murdering. If a person already lost his right to life, a death sentence is no longer depriving him of the right that he removed from himself. And I believe that punishments may, in some cases, include the loss of life. This isn't anarchy. This is a judicial system.

"- And government is certainly not the answer to this criticism. It is an imperfect judge and has killed innocent people in the past, making the entity of government a murderer itself, really. So are we allowed to let a murderer judge a murderer? I would think not."
Well, you conceded that a person absolutely proven to be guilty of murder is guilty of murder, so the judge has no real power over this. Government is not perfect, but it is better at determining punishment that any other system. And so, let's live with it.

And to counter your murder rate thing, we have a correlation between murder rate and death penalty. However, there are two possible explanations that do not involve a fault in the death penalty.
1. There are only fifty states for data, and only about twenty years. It could be purely coincidence; perhaps one of the death penalty states has always been naturally crime-run.
2. Maybe the death penalty does not lead to higher crime rates; maybe higher crime rates lead to the decision to adopt a death penalty, in an attempt to lower the crime rate.

In conclusion, the death penalty has a way to undo its money problems, and it lacks a need of security. A person loses his right to life when he deprives this right from another. Thus, the Death Penalty makes more sense than Solitary Confinement for Life.

Thank you for debating, and thank you, random bystander, for reading. Vote PRO.
Aziar44

Con

"The Constitution goes even further than anything the government can do. Torture is against the Constitution; the death penalty is not. And the Constitution says nothing about the movie business buying out a person for a death scene."

- I feel as though the backlash to such a policy of selling a person's actual death to the movies would be enormous. Doesn't the family of the murderer deserve some semblance of respect and dignity? It's not their fault and they should not see their son, daughter, brother, sister, mother or father be executed live on TV or in the movies. This reminds me of terrorists suicide tapes that are sold in Palestine. It is capitalzing on actual human loss and it is an offensive practice.

"The pain felt by the family members would be reflected in the pain felt in the family members of the death-penalized murderer. Emotions do not decide court cases. Evidence decides court cases."

- Sure, evidence decides court cases, but emotions decide the penalty. The families of victims cry out for the death penalty and the penalization of a criminal is partially based on emotions in the case. It is tantamount to vengeance, which is not justice, for the courts to be controlled by the strong passions of the victims' families and give the death penalty.

"My assumptions are not ill-placed. If you sit in a cell for 30 years with nothing to do but reflect, your life means less than that of a person who actually contributes to the good of society. The government's main concern is the good of their jurisdiction and its society."

- I wish we had more of a chance to delve into this philosophically, because I argue that the life of someone doing "good" for society has just as much MEANING as that of a person in solitary for their whole life. But perhaps another time :)

"You're comparing solitary confinement to ordinary prisons. However, a dead criminal is much less likely to attack a guard than a freedom-deprived one."

- No, I'm comparing it to death row, where the average stay is usually over 10 years. Even in Texas, the average stay is 10.26 years...and it's Texas. That is plenty of time for these prisoners to riot and kill a guard, especially given that they do have exercise time out of their cells and are joined up with the other death row inmates. Death row is a huge group of convicted murderers. How can solitary confinement possibly be less safe?

http://www.dc.state.fl.us...
http://www.associatedcontent.com...

"No, it's a plausible reason as to why solitary confinement is worse than the death penalty."

- Well, you did not rebut my argument, so I will have to assume this point is conceded.

"Killing is not necessarily murdering. If a person already lost his right to life, a death sentence is no longer depriving him of the right that he removed from himself. And I believe that punishments may, in some cases, include the loss of life. This isn't anarchy. This is a judicial system."

- But your philosophy does not say who may take a life. It basically says no one may take another's life without giving up their own, and if someone does kill someone, they lose their right to life. Yes? Where in that does it say that someone ELSE is allowed to take the killer's life? Okay, so the killer lost his right to life, theoretically. Doesn't that mean anyone can take his life? Why government? You say "this is a judicial system" but your philosophy grants no room for that. There is no assignation of power, logically, for any entity to take the life of a killer without letting EVERYONE take the life of a killer.

"Well, you conceded that a person absolutely proven to be guilty of murder is guilty of murder, so the judge has no real power over this. Government is not perfect, but it is better at determining punishment that any other system. And so, let's live with it."

- Simply because we are used to government determining punishment does not mean it is the best system. But this is a smaller point I believe.

"And to counter your murder rate thing, we have a correlation between murder rate and death penalty. However, there are two possible explanations that do not involve a fault in the death penalty.
1. There are only fifty states for data, and only about twenty years. It could be purely coincidence; perhaps one of the death penalty states has always been naturally crime-run.
2. Maybe the death penalty does not lead to higher crime rates; maybe higher crime rates lead to the decision to adopt a death penalty, in an attempt to lower the crime rate."

- Your first hypothesis is most likely untrue, according to this next link's data. There is no substantial correlation between the highest crime states and the death penalty.

- Your second hypothesis also is probably not true, since states usually abolish, rather than adopt, a death penalty. The death penalty is the one that's been around for a while, so it's highly unlikely any state has decided to institute it now after years of not having it. The reverse is more likely to be true in most cases. Perhaps one state has done so, but otherwise, the most reasonable explanation for the data is that the death penalty is not a deterrence to murderers.

In conclusion, solitary confinement is a much better solution than the death penalty. Solitary confinement is better because:

- It is far more just than the death penalty.

- It is safer for prison guards. Death row inmates are allowed to congregate and can riot for the average 10-year span they spend there.

- It is not based on eye-for-an-eye principles that support vengeance.

- It is reversible in case a mistake is somehow made; the death penalty is not.

- It will save taxpayers millions upon millions of dollars as compared to the death penalty. My opponent did not display any reasonable ways (that did not violate common ethical sensibilities) to reduce cost while keeping the death penalty. Solitary confinement would lift a tax burden off of the American public.

-The death penalty hasn't worked to keep people from murdering others. Clearly, the threat of death is not enough to keep people from murdering others, so why keep it if it isn't effective in preventing murder? Isn't that the point? It's time to table it and try something different.

- The expeditiousness of the process will be an increase over the process of the death penalty. Families of victims will know immediately and justice will be served quickly. The murderer will go to solitary very quickly. No long, drawn-out appeals inherent in the death penalty (as there should be when someone's life is on the line).

- Spirituality and other meaning can be found in solitary confinement - life is not meaningless once incarcerated and to say so is to place a value judgment on one's life that a person is not truly able to make. You cannot judge the meaning of someone else's life in such a way.

- No innocent people will die as a result of solitary confinement. 130 convicted murderers condemned to death have been exonerated as a result of new evidence. Many other innocent people have most likely died at the government's hands via electric chair/lethal injection/etc.

- The eye for an eye argument does not logically give power to anyone specifically for the task of carrying out the philosophy. Either anyone can kill a murderer or no one can kill a murderer. No single entity or person is logically designated. Since we don't want people going around killing whomever they deem murderers, the logical option is that NO ONE may kill a murderer.

All of these arguments have shown solitary confinement to be a much better option than the death penalty. I thank my very worthy opponent, mongeese, and any and all who view this debate. Vote CON, and thank you once again.
Debate Round No. 5
18 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Aziar44 8 years ago
Aziar44
I also thought our conduct and spelling/grammar were quite equal. Voting tied for those categories seems very fair.
Posted by mongeese 8 years ago
mongeese
Another person just gave my opponent all seven points...

But then, someone also gave me seven points...

I'm still annoyed, though.
Posted by mongeese 8 years ago
mongeese
Alright, so sources could easily go to CON, but still, that doesn't calm my anger.
Posted by Maikuru 8 years ago
Maikuru
I agree with you, mongeese, that spelling, conduct, and grammar were equivalent on both sides. The sources, though, clearly go to Con. Your point on prison breaks was unconvincing enough to be disregarded, along with its wiki source. Also, your blurb on mental illness was irrelevant as it referred to prisoners in general, not solely those in solitary confinement.
Posted by mongeese 8 years ago
mongeese
Okay, I just have two things to say now:
1. The government has the right to take the life away from he who doesn't deserve it, because the government is what originally protected that person's right to life in the first place.
2. Okay, before I voted, three votes had me losing 19 to 0. I can see how I lost the convincing arguments, but souces, conduct, and spelling/grammar? Somebody evidently felt that I lost in all three of these categories, and I just want to say, what is up with that? Our grammar and conduct were about the same throughout the entire thing, and he used five reliable sources, while I used three, and I don't think that that is really enough to give two points to one person. So, I just want to take this opportunity to protest vote-bombing. Thank you.
Posted by Maikuru 8 years ago
Maikuru
I've read a number of death penalty debates but this one had some very...unique arguments; inmates finding spirituality, attacking guards, having their deaths sold to Hollywood, and escaping due to natural disasters are all new to me. Focus on the realistic points, though, and it's clear that Con's evidence on the death penalty's ineffectiveness and potential danger to innocents outweigh Pro's position.
Posted by Aziar44 8 years ago
Aziar44
My forgetfulness to include links is unfortunate. Sorry about that again.

http://www.disastercenter.com...

This is in regards to the comparison between crime rates in the states (at least in two years, as an example) and the murder rates in death penalty states. There is no substantive correlation.
Posted by Aziar44 8 years ago
Aziar44
Of course. My fault for not putting it in there as I thought I had.

http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...

My apologies.
Posted by mongeese 8 years ago
mongeese
I'd like to see your source before I respond to it.
Posted by Aziar44 8 years ago
Aziar44
Also, just so I don't throw this in for Round 5, making you unable to respond, the death penalty has not worked. There is statistial proof (that I will link in Round 5) showing lower murder rates in states without the death penalty. The death penalty has not worked, so why keep it when solitary confinement seems the far better option?

Just wanted to post that before you posted your final argument so it wouldn't be a lame potshot that you couldn't respond to in Round 5.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by Aziar44 8 years ago
Aziar44
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Vote Placed by Mdal 8 years ago
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Vote Placed by Marine1 8 years ago
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Vote Placed by rougeagent21 8 years ago
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Vote Placed by Maikuru 8 years ago
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Vote Placed by sorrylol 8 years ago
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