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deelux1775
Pro (for)
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The Contender
antonellaa
Con (against)
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is solitary confinement an acceptable punishment?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/21/2015 Category: News
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,118 times Debate No: 68650
Debate Rounds (4)
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deelux1775

Pro

For purposes of this argument let"s define the following terms as:
1.Solitary Con@257;nement (S.C.) is a form of con@257;nement whereby prisoners are held alone in a single cell where they spend between 22.5 and 24 hours a day. They have no contact with the outside world or with their fellow prisoners and very limited contact with prison staff.
2.Prisoners are persons found guilty of a criminal offense and serving a sentence of imprisonment.
3.Retribution is the debt that is being repaid to society for the crime(s) committed
4.Contraband is defined as goods or merchandise whose importation, exportation, or possession is forbidden; also : smuggled goods
5.American laws allow the government to seize contraband
6.Prisoners forfeit their 4th amendment to unreasonable search and seizure while incarcerated
7.Prisoners can be placed in S.C. for various reasons: as punishment while they are under investigation for internal violence and or the promotion of contraband. Also, as a mechanism for behavior modification, when suspected of gang involvement; as retribution
8.Prison subculture shall be defined as is the culture of prison society and thought by some to arise from the "pains of imprisonment"
9.Prizonization shall be defined as the process whereby inmates acquired this set of values and behavioral guidelines as they adapted to prison life he termed "prisonization", which he defined as the "taking on, in greater or lesser degree, the folkways, mores, customs and general culture of the penitentiary'
10.According to research done in the field of corrections part of the inmate subculture is gangs ultimately control the criminal activity in most custody environments.
11.S.C. is beneficial as a retribution to the guards who face violent prison subculture on a daily basis.
12.S.C. is necessary to protect the safety of the guards and prison staff
13.S.C. is necessary to regulate the unconformity of violent/former violent prisoners that pose a security risk
antonellaa

Con

2. Definition is accepted.
3. Definition is accepted.
4. Definition is accepted.
5. Accepted.
6. Prisoners do not have any other options but to relinquish the fourth amendment.
7. Just because prisoners are placed into solitary confinement as a result of aforementioned reasons, does not determine whether or not they should be subjected to solitary confinement.
8. There are a variety of other punishments that the person convicted may face.
9. Solitary confinement is not a punishment, it is a form of discipline.
10. If a person commits a crime, then they are forced into solitary confinement.
11. Solitary confinement is bad.
12. All other beneficial consequences of solitary confinement, such as: retribution to the guards who face violent prison subculture on a daily basis, controlling the criminal activity in most custody environments, and the protection of the safety of the guards and prison staff, are unacceptable in light of the fact that solitary confinement is inhumane.
13. Regarding premise 8: the definition is accepted; however, I would like to add that such ‘pains’ are unethical and immoral.
14. Allowing prisoners to endure agony is unacceptable, and it cannot be justified. This is a country that thrives off of justice, yes; however, we do not need to incite fear and torment prisoners. There are other options regarding the atonement of their mistakes.
___________________________________________________________________________________________
15. Therefore, Solitary confinement is unacceptable and cannot even be considered a form of punishment.

premises 1 through 6 are accepted definitions; therefore, these cannot be considered controversial.
All other premises are arguing against certain points stating in the other's argument. These will be considered controversial merely because there is not definite evidence to support each claim.
Debate Round No. 1
deelux1775

Pro

1.According to you S.C. is a discipline not a punishment. Punishment is not cruel in nature and the laws of the United States tell us that unless an action is in violation of the 4th amendment or falling short of the standard of being CRUEL or UNUSUAL or BOTH, than it is deemed proper and acceptable within the constitution. Therefore because prisoners are granted 3 healthy meals a day, time for exercise, and are not beaten or treated harshly, and within security reason given reading material and granted mail privileges. S.C. is not inhumane.
2.S.C. is not required for all prisoners.
3.The "pains of imprisonment" refers to "the deprivation of liberty, the deprivation of goods and services, the deprivation of heterosexual relationships, the deprivation of autonomy,
and the deprivation of security"
4.Security levels are determined upon entry into prison (low, medium, high) levels are given to assess security threat groups, and can be altered upon necessity (tickets, infractions, violence to self and others, contraband, escape threat,). Prisoners who are considered a high threat to security will be moved to S.C. for the safety of the general population and correctional staff. High profile cases or such where great harm was done outside the prison walls would by necessity require that that prisoner be put into S.C. for his/her own protection from opposing persons (who could also be residing in protective custody).
5.The Department of Corrections (D.O.C) has a mission statement that sets the principles for the prison community. Thus being, "To improve public safety by providing a continuity of appropriate treatment services in safe and secure facilities where offenders" needs are addressed and they are prepared for release, followed by supportive services under community supervision to facilitate a successful completion of their sentence."
6.Correctional officers (similar to doctors and other professionals in various fields) pledge oaths upon acceptance of the job, which must be abided at all times and come primary to any objecting feelings.
7.Security takes precedence within a Correctional Facility, this is exemplified within the first 3 goals of the D.O.C that are listed below:
8.The first goal of the D.O.C is "Create and maintain an atmosphere where both offenders and staff feel secure" Establish a needs/risk approach to treatment and community supervision to ensure a continuity of services
9.The second goal of the D.O.C is "Develop and implement positive individualized treatment plans for each offender that includes post release reentry plans"
10.The third goal of the D.O.C is "Establish a needs/risk approach to treatment and community supervision to ensure a continuity of services."
11.American Citizens vote congressmen into power to represent the values that society upholds.
12.Therefore S.C. is humane and is deemed necessary by the set laws that are put forth by Congress.
antonellaa

Con

1. Although I agreed with the provided definition, I also believe that solitary confinement is a form of strict discipline. Discipline is considered a set of rules, actions, or behaviors given to correct disobedience. If one decides to break the law, their failure to abide by the law will be corrected with solitary confinement.

Punishments can be defined as the infliction or imposition of a penalty as retribution for an offense. If you truly consider solitary confinement as a punishment, I will agree to such conditions; however, only if you agree that it is inhumane in comparison to other ‘punishments.’

The eighth amendment is being violated, albeit disregarded nonetheless. Cruel and unusual punishment cannot simply pertain to just physical harm – it can apply to mental harm, as well. If a person is placed into solitary confinement, they become susceptible to mental instability. For 23 hours of their day, prisoners are placed into a hole that is smaller than your average horse stable[1]. There are several consequences, and though they are not physically visible, people dismiss them. Monophobia, autophobia, PTSD, thoughts of suicide, and various other forms of psychological harm are the end result of solitary confinement. If that is not inhumane, then what is?


2. Regardless, those who endure the torment will suffer the consequences. Even if you were one of the inmates who were not placed into solitary confinement, those who have been recently released can affect you. Solitary confinement can drastically alter one’s mental stability – and mental stability is what helps us interact with others and keep our composures. It’s highly likely for those who have been recently released to attack or harm others because of this newfound instability. If one suffers – they all suffer.

3 - 11: The deprivation of liberty, the deprivation of goods and services, the deprivation of heterosexual relationships, the deprivation of autonomy, and the deprivation of security are all inhumane. No matter how the government tries to justify it, they cannot correct what happens within these facilities.

The more security they have, the more freedom is being taken away.

Just because someone takes an oath, that does not necessarily mean they will keep it. We all took an oath in this country to abide by the rules, and yet – people are being arrested every day.

Goals can be accomplished, and they cannot be. Where do these stand right now? Obviously, they have not accomplished them; if that were the case, there would be no problems in these prisons. Solitary confinement is not a safe and secure atmosphere, and it is certainly not a positive treatment because of the mental harm.



[1] Information provided by pbs article: http://www.pbs.org...;

Debate Round No. 2
deelux1775

Pro

1.As the opponent has stated in round 1 premise number 8, "There are a variety of other punishments that the person convicted may face." I agreed to this standard and shall not agree to any contradictory statements being made afterwards (round 2 premise 1)
2.In regard to your claim about mental instability, let"s first note that according to Robert Hanser more than 50% of inmates are predisposed to mental health disorders.
3.Also in regard to mental health disorders, the DOC is committed in assessing and treating inmates within it facilities. (As prior stated in round 2 premises 8, 9, 10) this entry will denounce all further claims about untreated mental illness.
4.The pains of imprisonment in its entirety are factors associated with serving time in prison. This is part of retribution. "If you can"t do the time don"t do the crime"
5.In response to the retort of premises 3-11 these are empty claims with no evidence that solitary confinement is inhumane
6.Prison /Solitary Confinement included are overseen by qualified officials who have invested time and research towards the mechanics of successfully running a prison.
7.Solitary confinement is humane and necessary is nature
antonellaa

Con

1. Premise eight taken from round one coincides with both premises seven and nine from the same round. If you agreed to that premise, then you agreed to both statements. I stated: “Just because prisoners are placed into solitary confinement as a result of aforementioned reasons, does not determine whether or not they should be subjected to solitary confinement.” Then, “There are a variety of other punishments that the person convicted may face.” And lastly, “Solitary confinement is not a punishment, it is a form of discipline.”

What I specifically stated was that if a prisoner is placed into solitary confinement, that should not be determined by the reasons mentioned in pro’s premise seven, round one: “Prisoners can be placed in S.C. for various reasons: as punishment while they are under investigation for internal violence and or the promotion of contraband. Also, as a mechanism for behavior modification, when suspected of gang involvement; as retribution.”

My following statements were that there are other forms of punishment that do not consist of solitary confinement because it cannot be consider punishment, but rather a form of discipline.

2. Without knowing Robert Hanser’s credibility, I cannot agree or disagree; just as you said in premise 5, “…these are empty claims with no evidence…” Without the proper citations, you cannot include this in an argument. His words could be misconstrued or even twisted in your favor.

Regarding my previous argument, however, there is more than enough data that will suffice as enough evidence that will support my argument.

I. The American psychology association mentions in their article, "Psychologist testifies on the risks of solitary confinement,"
that one inmate's struggle to live in prison with the implementation of solitary confinement. He said: "One fellow inmate,
would go out into the recreation yard, get naked, lie down and urinate all over himself. He would take his feces and smear
it all over his face."
The inmates come in sane, but over time there is extreme amounts of mental harm done to them
and they are faced with the consequences of solitary confinement.

ii. From the "Sourcebook on solitary confinement: The health effects of solitary confinement," there are even more horror
stories of patients losing their minds. One inmate said, "Sometimes I felt like I was losing my mind, or that I have lost it
already, you know... Holding conversations with myself... I had conversations with people. I mean dialogues, long
dialogues with people. Some of them I knew, and some of them I didn’t know. There were times when the darkness
wasn’t dark. I could see faces... I think that I found out that I may be hallucinating when I touched my eyes and my eyes
were open so I kind of knew I wasn’t dreaming. After a while I thought that maybe I will die there. I really thought I
would." [Former prisoner, USA, cited in Shalev, forthcoming]

3. How are they committed to treating inmates if the U.S. Department of Justice even released suicide and homicide data[1] -- is this still considered a ‘safe and secure’ environment even with the proof that people die inside those jail cells?

4. To an extent, crime is necessary. Even if we lived in a Utopian society, people would want to deviate; thus, committing a crime. Nothing and nobody is perfect, and justifying this torment with a mere quote that has no value is silly.

6. You cannot use claims with no evidence. How do you know that these people are ‘qualified?’ You can’t actually know unless you’ve worked there at some point, or obtained some sort of accurate data/research.



[1] The data can be found here: http://www.bjs.gov...

Debate Round No. 3
deelux1775

Pro

Although neither of us are experts in the field of criminal justice, I can say that I am particularly versed in the study (through internship and academic journals) of criminal justice and will cite to well-known accredited scholars in the field. I agreed with premise 8 only for the purpose that other methods within the D.O.C are being used in conjunction with solitary confinement. Solitary Confinement isn"t the only method of "punishment" that is administered.

"According to Donn Rowe, the president of the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association (P.B.A) and former active corrections officer: Solitary confinement is a necessary tool for corrections officers and that prisoners are put into solitary confinement for a reason: They are dangerous to their fellow prisoners and the staff." As aforementioned security takes precedence within a Correctional Facility, this is exemplified within the first 3 goals of the D.O.C. Therefore there are some setbacks with solitary confinement but you have not proved that it is unethical according to the 8th amendment, but have simply tossed around the opinion of self and others. This is a controversial topic with many opposing opinions, unfortunately there is a very high bar to disprove the precedent of CRUEL or UNUSUAL. Therefore because prisoners are granted 3 healthy meals a day, time for exercise, and are not beaten or treated harshly, and within security reason given reading material and granted mail privileges. S.C. is not inhumane.

"Robert Hanser is the Associate Director of the School of Social Sciences and the Coordinator of the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. Dr. Hanser has an extensive background in treatment provision and administration. He sits on the 4th Judicial District's Youth Services Planning Board and also serves on regional advisory councils and community boards related to juvenile services for substance abuse and mental health treatment programming. He is a National Certified Counselor, a Licensed Professional Counselor in the states of Louisiana and Texas, a Licensed Addiction Counselor, and a Certified Anger Management Therapist."

Hanser, R. D. (2014). Community corrections.
Typo-correction in round 2, Premise #1 (((8th Amendment))) Not 4th.
antonellaa

Con

1. I have agreed to this specific definition: "Solitary Confinement is a form of confinement whereby prisoners are held alone in a single cell where they spend between 22.5 and 24 hours a day. They have no contact with the outside world, or with their fellow prisoners; there is additional limited contact with prison staff."

2. Prisoners are persons found guilty of a criminal offense and serving a sentence of imprisonment.

3. Just because prisoners are placed into solitary confinement as a result of committing a crime, that does not determine whether or not they should be subjected to solitary confinement.

4. Punishment is defined as: the infliction or imposition of a penalty as retribution for an offense.

5. There are other forms of punishment.

6. Although, technically, solitary confinement cannot be consider punishment, but rather a form of discipline.

7. Discipline can be defined as: the practice of training people to obey rules or correcting disobedience.

8. If a person commits a crime, they are forced into solitary confinement.

9. Solitary confinement is bad.

10. All other beneficial results of solitary confinement, such as: retribution to the guards who face violent prison subculture on a daily basis, controlling the criminal activity in most custody environments, and the protection of the safety of the guards and prison staff, are unacceptable in light of the fact that solitary confinement is inhumane.

11. Several psychological studies have shown that solitary confinement has short-term and long-term effects on the inmates.

12. Solitary confinement incites fear, damages a person’s psyche, and provokes mental illness.

13. The eighth amendment is being violated, albeit disregarded.

14. Cruel and unusual punishment does not just pertain to physical harm – it can apply to mental harm, as well.

15. If a person is placed into solitary confinement, they become susceptible to mental instability.

16. For 23 hours of their day, prisoners are placed into a hole, and there are a variety of consequences, such as: monophobia, autophobia, PTSD, and thoughts of suicide.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________

17.Therefore, solitary confinement is inhumane and extremely harmful to prisoners.

I have revised my argument, applied two more definitions, and simplified/summarized the debate.

Although there is no evidence provided here, the proof for each of my claims can be found throughout the rounds. Claims cannot be made without evidence, and there certainly is evidence within the debate.

Debate Round No. 4
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