The Instigator
rbksfreak
Con (against)
Tied
7 Points
The Contender
Patrick_Henry
Pro (for)
Tied
7 Points

in a democratic society felons ought to retain the right to vote

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/8/2009 Category: Society
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,427 times Debate No: 6816
Debate Rounds (5)
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Votes (2)

 

rbksfreak

Con

Felons are the utmost vile individuals in society, because of this very fact coupled with other truths, one can see that felons should stay disenfranchised. So, I negate the resolution: in a democratic society felons ought to retain the right to vote.

I offer some observations to better clarify my case. Felons-one who has committed a felony. Felony-an offense, as murder or burglary, of graver character than those of misdemeanors, esp. those commonly punished in the U.S. by imprisonment for one or more years. 2) During my case I will focusing on the felons who have been released from prison. In a study done by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, they've found that 67% of prisoners released in 1994 had undergone recidivism within 3 years. 3) The U.S. is one of if not the only democratic society that define those who commit major offenses felons. So, the resolution is clearly pertaining to the U.S. or a nation like the U.S.

Value: My value is democratic social well being, in other words it's what is in a democratic society's best interest or well being.

Value Criterion: Social compact. A compact established by james madison to maintain a democratic society's well-being. Those who violate this compact are to be punished.

Contention 1: Democratic societies would legitimize felons' behaviors if they were to vote. Felons who break the social compact are entitled to be punished because they have done harm to society. So, in theory felons go to prison for one or more year(s) to be "punished," but based upon statistics, the prison system is not working because more than half of the prisoners released from prison are back within 3 years. So, it's not in society's best interest that these felons are able to vote, why? Because, there's no real consequence for committing a felony. A place of shelter, 3-square meals every day, immediate hospital care, no taxes, this doesn't sound like punishment to me. So, there's no stopping a person convicted of voters fraud from committing the same crime because there's no real consequence. To ensure democratic social well-being, you would have to look toward my value criterion of the social compact, or else the society will be witnessing many felons returning to crime(s).

Contention 2: Felons have broken the social compact. Felons have committed crimes against society by breaking the social compact. Since felons have broken the social compact, they deserve to be taken out of society for its well-being. Obviously, you don't want pedophiles living right across the street from the park your kids play at, so authorities and the people place regulations to separate them from society for its own good. This is the exact situation taken to a grander scale. Felons have no place in a society, in which they've harmed. For a democratic society's well-being, felons must continue to be disenfranchised because they have broken the social compact and hurt society in the process.

Contention 3: Felons have forfeited over their rights. When felons commit a felony it's an act of their own will. It's not a secret that you'll be punished if you kill or steal or rape. Felons voluntarily give up their rights, so they can do harm upon society; it would not be in a democratic society's best interest to allow these type of people to be a part of it. Why? Because, they've broken the social compact, which is in place to maintain social order and guarantee a democratic society's well-being. Apparently, for a felon to commit a felony they are tearing down social order and not guaranteeing democratic society's well-being. So, felons should not retain the right to vote because they have given up the right to vote by committing a felony and have hurt society in the process.

through my case i have presented it is very clear that felons, most vile individuals, are not to retain enfranchisement.

thank you
:D
Patrick_Henry

Pro

To my opponent; thank you for posting this debate.

Value: My value is to promote a society in which the rights of man are well respected and to avoid the creation of a legitimate second class citizen who will have no choice but to resist the society which has denied them their basic participation in the franchise.

Value Criterion: The works of individuals such as John Locke, and Thomas Paine. Best represented by Locke's view that "he who makes an attempt to enslave me there by puts themselves into a state of war with me."

Contention 1: The role of the penal system in the United States is often described as a reform system. A persons time spent in prison is likewise described as paying their debt to society. We tacitly acknowledge that the goal of prisons are to correct behavior and encourage better behavior, and directly acknowledge that this is possible by releasing criminals at the end of their sentences. If we believed that reform was impossible, would treat every offense the same. Either punished by death, or life in prison because in all cases the law was equally broken and if individuals cannot be reformed, it would be against the good of society to ever free them.

Contention 2: Any individual who has no possibility of expressing their consent in a government is bound by their own interests to set themselves against that government. Many of the justifications for the American Revolution involved the sentiment of "no taxation without representation." This justification is specifically taught in American schools. If a society seeks to completely disenfranchise individual, they should allow them all of the protections of the state of nature which includes not forcing them to live by the laws, rules, and regulations of your civil society. To simply deny them participation in the government is tantamount to forcing them into a state of slavery.

Contention 3: The law reads that each state's governor possesses the authority to reinstate a felon's right to vote. Very rarely is it an automatic process. In most cases the felon must be interested enough in their society to request reinstatement, at which point in time our elected officials review their records and decide whether or not and individual merits the right to vote.

Contention 4: If felons are never able to regain the right to vote, the easiest way to remove an inconvenient voting block would be by wrongly convicting them all. Given that the president of the United States was able to spy on millions of Americans without obtaining warrants without consequence - or government may be corrupt enough for such activities to take place.

So, someone that drives drunk for a third offense might be able to vote again while an individual that killed two people may not receive reinstatement.

In response to con's first contention:

You have decide to claim that a prison sentence is not a punishment. A felon is a classification of a criminal. This has nothing to do with the kind of punishment they receive. In the past, other punishments included things such as floggings, canings, and so forth. Just because you live in a society where a prison sentence is generally the only acceptable punishment, does not mean that all felons will always only receive prison sentences or death.

I suggest that you should spend some time with a person who has been to prison. I have known several individuals who have spent, days, weeks, months, or years locked away from their liberty. They consider it to be quite the punishment. And in many cases, they are charged a fee for their time in prison. I assure you while there are repeat offenders in many kinds of crime, most people consider prison to be a punishment. The difficulty comes that the offender often assumes that they ought to be an exception to the rules. The time in prison allows them to realize that they aren't.

We've decided the role of our prison system is to reform the individual. If 100% of individuals are not reformed, this is the fault of our prison system and not an indication of their inability to have a say in their government. In fact, government might benefit better by more involvement of ex-cons in policy decisions. Perhaps former prisoners might have feed back on what would make their time more successful.

Con's second contention:

While your argument begins with the social compact, you steer it quickly to an accusation which is little better than fear mongering or witch hunting.

An individual living in a civil society has agreed to a social compact. Our social compact states that criminals must be treated certain ways for certain crimes. One of these is that the prison system can reform an individual. So, when an individual who was convicted of being a pedophile is living right across the street from the park where your kids play they have been reformed. To believe that they are evil by nature, and not reformed is a violation of the social compact. To insist that they be treated poorly is the equivalent to attempting to take their rights away. While laws have been passed to avoid creating the temptation of repeating the crime you gave an example of, those laws do not deny that person's right to live - nor do these laws mandate that the person is no longer human.

Given that many individuals sexually who sexually molest minors are members of immediate or extended family, and that most have a relationship beyond abducting their victims from a park, your concern is poorly merited.

Shall we pass laws to protect your children from the possibility that all family members could possibly hurt them? I believe a South Park Episode addressed this very well.

Our social compact requires us to give our fellow citizens the benefit of the doubt. We must trust our neighbors, and trust that they wish to live in peace. Unfortunately, we are not all perfect.

To respond to contention 3:

Not all felons are acting on free will. Some are simply responding to a situation - but still respond in a legal way. Sometimes there's no appropriate legal way to address a situation. This is part of the reason why we have juries.

Most felonies rarely affect the society as a whole. Greater crimes have been committed by our elected officials that affect millions, and those crimes go unpunished. There is a handful of individuals responsible for the United States' current economic crisis which likewise has betrayed the social compact, however they are not considered felons. In fact, due to their wealth they are given a greater significance in our society, and her politics.

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Felons retain their humanity and as such are still afforded the rights of man, and the natural rights with which we all were created with. If our society deems them to be reformable, they simply must be killed or never released from prison. It is against the moral premise of our country to force them to exist as second class citizens.
Debate Round No. 1
rbksfreak

Con

rbksfreak forfeited this round.
Patrick_Henry

Pro

(Is there a good way to deal with this yet? I'm terrified of the next twelve days of waiting for rounds to be forfeit)
Debate Round No. 2
rbksfreak

Con

rbksfreak forfeited this round.
Patrick_Henry

Pro

Patrick_Henry forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
rbksfreak

Con

rbksfreak forfeited this round.
Patrick_Henry

Pro

Patrick_Henry forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
rbksfreak

Con

rbksfreak forfeited this round.
Patrick_Henry

Pro

Patrick_Henry forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
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Vote Placed by pcmbrown 7 years ago
pcmbrown
rbksfreakPatrick_HenryTied
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Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by Patrick_Henry 7 years ago
Patrick_Henry
rbksfreakPatrick_HenryTied
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Total points awarded:07