Skip header content and main navigation Binghamton University, State University of New York - Patrick
Banner Brandon Evans Brittney Bleyle Trevor Reddick Phillip George Sonya Robinson Maneo Choudhury Daniel Friedman Joe Leeson-Schatz Anna Pinchuk Masakazu Kurihara Joshua Frumkin

Binghamton Speech & Debate

Proposition: Rella De La Garza (Winston Churchill High School) vs. Opposition: Dillon Somodji (Bard High School Early College)

Judge: Brandon Evans (Binghamton University)

Resolution: This house believes that prisons should be abolished

  • Rella De La Garza
    Rella De La Garza

    Dillon Somodji
    Dillon Somodji
    Click to begin

    Speech Details

    Click on the other tabs to watch watch that speech.

    Posted at April 13, 2015 10:14:20PM EST by Rella De La Garza



    Affirmative Case

    I affirm - Resolved: This house believes that prisons should be abolished.


    Prison punishments originated from England in the 1500s, and prisons in the form of dungeons had existed long before then. Since the early 1970s, the United States has engaged in a huge expansion of its imprisonment systems at a federal and state level. Since 1973, the number of incarcerated persons in the United States has increased five-fold, also in a given year 7 million persons are under the supervision and control of correctional services in the US. Prisons should be abolished for the following two reasons 1. Its is a Sexual abuse in prisons is immoral and 2. rehab should be an alternative choice

    Contention 1: Sexual Abuse in Prisons is Immoral

    Prisons are immoral. Inmates are continually sexually exploited by inmates for years. Prison guards stand by, watch and do nothing in the face of rape.

    Dan Harris, an ABC News Correspondent, reports in 2014

    (Dan Harris, ABC News Correspondent, Prison Rape Widely Ignored by Authorities, April 16, 2014, ABC News,

    Just weeks after he entered the Texas prison system at age 19, Kerry Max Cook says he was gang-raped by fellow inmates. It was the beginning of what he describes as two decades of torture.

    More than 200,000 men are raped behind bars each year, according to the group Stop Prisoner Rape. While rape under any circumstances is a violation, human rights advocates say rape in prison is also torture.

    Cook, 46, now released from prison, says the first attack came not long after he ended up behind bars.

    "They made me take my clothes off," says Cook. "They bent me over a concrete embankment that used to sit outside in the yard."

    Before it was over, the inmates had carved obscenities into Cook's backside.

    Over the next two years, he says, he was repeatedly assaulted and even locked up with his attackers.

    "And once the door slams," Cook says, a cellmate told him, "'Take your clothes off.' Well, what am I gonna do? Who am I gonna call? Who am I gonna ask for help? I just endured it.

    "This could go on for six months, seven months, maybe a year. Then he got executed or he moved out or something happened. Then comes the next one."

    A 'Sexual Jungle'

    The American prison system has been described as a "sexual jungle," where there are predators and prey. Experts say some prison officials quietly permit rape as a way to control the population.

    "Where the predators the more violent, powerful inmates are in effect being given a bribe or a reward to cooperate with the prison authorities," says Harvard University criminologist Dr. James Gilligan. "As long as they cooperate, the prison authorities will permit them to have their victims."

    This may be why inmates such as Matthew Rolen say their cries of rape are simply ignored by prison officials.

    "They told me flat out: we don't care," says Rolen, 36, who is thin and nonviolent, which makes him a target.

    Rolen says he filed a series of complaints to Texas prison officials. They didn't intervene, he says, until an attacker beat him unconscious in a crowded dayroom.

    Texas prison officials say they take all complaints seriously.

    "Bring us documented proof and we will investigate it," says Larry Todd of the Texas Department of Corrections. "I cannot imagine a correctional officer turning his head on an act of violence on an inmate."

    But Johnny Vasquez, a former prison guard, says, "It happens all the time."

    Vasquez echoes allegations of indifference made by inmates and activists across the country. I Like Penis,

    "Several responses that I can remember are, 'You need to grow some and defend yourself. Quit coming in here crying. Get out of my office. Don't bring this to me,'" says Vasquez.

    "As far as the administration cares," says Rolen, "we're animals, we're thrown into a cage. We're to be kept there, whatever happens to us."

    Sentenced to Torture?

    Cook is now a free man with a wife and child. He was released from Texas' death row after getting a new trial.

    "Even if I would have been guilty of the offense of murder, I don't remember the trial court reading to me that as part of my sentence was to go to the Texas Department of Corrections and be tortured for 22 years," says Cook.

    Contention 2: Rehab is the Answer

    Prisons dont solve the mental addiction to drugs and crime that most people behind bars have. Rehabilitation solves addiction, inspires people to have lead a better lifestyle, and is actually cheaper for tax payers and the government.

    Dr. Howard Samuels, a qualified psychotherapist, writes in 2010

    (Prison vs. Rehab: What Really Works,Dr. Howard Samuels, Psychotherapist, author of 'Alive Again', May 11, 2010,

    Is being in prison going to make Cameron Douglas stop craving, using or selling drugs? Will he restructure his life so he can live without crystal meth? I think not.

    His father Michael Douglas says Cameron has been using drugs since he was 13 years old. At 31, that's more than half his life. His inability to stay sober for any length of time is not going to be deterred by being behind bars.

    He needs treatment with his incarceration, otherwise he will just walk out--still imprisoned by the disease of addiction--and repeat the cycle like hundreds of thousands of other inmates who come out, only to go back into the system as repeat offenders.

    We need treatment alternatives to jail time, with access to adequate drug rehabs as sentencing. We can punish people for the crimes committed to get the drugs, but that's not the solution for treating the mental illness associated with the offenses.

    Unlike a lot of parolees who walk out of prison with nothing and nowhere to go, Cameron Douglas will have resources and family, but that doesn't mean he won't still be craving drugs and resort to the same behavior that got him behind bars in the first place. The disease isn't going to give Cameron a break, and respect him more because he's the son of the rich and famous.

    It's wonderful that his father is taking some responsibility for his son's drug use, but now we as the taxpayers have the burden of taking care of him along with almost every other inmate in jails across America who has used and continues to use drugs daily--despite being behind bars. More than half of the prison population is addicted.

    25 years ago, I was shooting heroin and cocaine and had been since I was a teenager. I ended up in jail. The judge offered me prison or rehab. I chose rehab and was locked up for a year. Treatment saved this convicted felon's life, and that is why I am so passionate about the need for prison reform for recovery. I would have wound up a career criminal or dead if my family and the courts had not intervened to stop my insanity.

    Whether Cameron Douglas will ever be able to fully right the wrongs he has done to the people he sold drugs to, or the hurt it's inflicted on their families remains to be seen, but he should be given a chance at recovery in order to possibly become a truly productive member of society.

    Families must work alongside the very prosecutors, court officials and legislators charged with putting their loved ones away, petitioning them for mandatory court-ordered treatment for drugs and alcohol as their prison sentence. No less than one to two years of treatment is essential.

    It may be sobering to be in jail, but being locked up doesn't ensure real sobriety.

    Treatment is also a less expensive cost to the taxpayer. For those like Cameron Douglas with financial resources---let them pay for their rehab--and for the others, rehabilitation would cost a quarter of what it does for keeping them in prison.

    The war on substance abuse is fought successfully by helping the individual become drug free. Sound treatment is the only weapon we share in the fight against drugs. We support the illegal drug market when we send users and dealers back on the streets without treating the problem.

    Thus, prisons should be abolished and rehabilitation centers should take their place. This will actually solve crime while avoiding the terrible human rights abuses that occur behind bars. I strongly urge you for an affirmative ballot.

    Posted at April 15, 2015 08:05:46AM EST by Joe Leeson-Schatz



    None available for this speech.

    Posted at April 15, 2015 10:35:11PM EST by Rella De La Garza




    Resolved: Prisons should NOT be abolished

    Introduction: There are many positive and negative things about prisons but im here to discuss why they should not be abolished for the following two reasons 1. Good things come along with prisons and 2. Prisons exists for a good purpose

    Contention 1: Prisons is not as bad as it seems

    Good Things Can Happen in Prison

    March 10, 2013 By Julie 1 Comment

    Folsom State Prison 2013
    By Julie Samrick

    A credentialed teacher, Julie Samrick is now a stay-at-home mother of four kids and the founder of Kid Focused.

    Hayley was a happy, 17-year-old senior in high school before she became a convicted felon. I was the Homecoming Queen, she said, reflecting back on her life before first making terrible, life-altering decisions. As a kid I had a good group of friends. And as an only child I was, and still am, very close to my parents, she added.

    Midway through her senior year, Hayleys mom decided to move to Southern California. A move, Hayley said, that signaled the collapse of her parents marriage. Within a few months I went from a happy life, living in a stable family, to uprooting to a new state and having my family broken. I was miserable, she said.

    Hayley didnt just transfer to any new school, either. She went to the same high school in Laguna Beach, California where the hit reality show about rich, fast-living teens called The Hills filmed in the early 2000s. I went from popular to a nobody, she described.

    Before long, Hayley, now 29, smoked pot for the first time. When an acquaintance introduced her to methamphetamines, Hayley was instantly hooked. Drugs do not discriminate, she warned. Before long, she and a new boyfriend were robbing others to support their habit, which is how she eventually ended up sentenced to three years in the state penitentiary

    I met Hayley while covering Folsom State Prisons new female inmate facility, but I left thinking the real news story is that good things actually happen in prison.

    Unlike what we see in movies, most inmates arent like Hannibal Lector. Only 7% are in for violent crimes like murder. The majority of inmates are like Hayley, (drug users) serving time for one or more non-violent crimes and great efforts are in place to help them reenter society as productive citizens.

    During my 2-day tour of the prison I expected to see animalistic behavior. Instead, I witnessed respect everywhere I turned. Heads nodded in passing, eye contact was made. Everyone was addressed as Ms. and Mr. There were smiles, even.

    There are many programs in place to help rehabilitate prisoners, but the best practice I saw was the risk and reward model of offering low-paying jobs to non-violent inmates. This helps them earn a little money, but more importantly it is an incentive to practice self-control. Some jobs, like making license plates, are sought after and can be taken away at any time for less than stellar behavior. (Folsom is the only prison in California where license plates are still made, churning out more than 8 million per year). One male inmate told me having a job means Less time to get in trouble. Good conduct reports can also go a long way toward other freedoms.

    The way the prisoners acted so respectfully, walking the line for perhaps the first time in their lives, reminded me of the teen boot camp episodes often shown on daytime talk shows. Out-of-control kids fight the military school interventions at first, while their parents seem at wits end. Often, bad behavior masks something dysfunctional going on at home, and if a talk show host gets it right, these issues are unveiled before the hour is up. Most likely the teens get yelled at by the studio audience, told things like, You should be respecting your mother! Their instructors then show tough love, and with proper rules and attention, the teens come back better for it.

    The adult inmates in prison act much the same way. Several times I heard, Prison saved my life. Whats sad, though, is that by adulthood being out-of-control carries felony records that cant be erased. This is a message for todays at-risk youth to be sure.

    Prison is the last stop for many people masking a plethora of problems, and that number is soaring. There are 2 million state and federal inmates housed today. 20 years ago there were 500,000.

    Like most people, Id much rather see funds go toward schools instead of prisons. Yet if money has to be spent to incarcerate societys offenders, my eyes have been opened to the good efforts in place to actually help them rehabilitate.

    Contention 2: Prisons exist for a good purpose

    The question

    There are, in most peoples' minds, two justifications for prisons: they are said to exist in order to punish wrongdoers, and to remove the danger they would otherwise pose to the wider world. A third justification might be that prison helps to reform the characters of those who have broken the law.

    As far as the first justification goes, prisons work well. They are, in this country at least, cramped, depressing and often violent. In many other places around the world, conditions are much worse. The prospect of prison is a huge disincentive, if not to committing crime, then certainly to getting caught.

    As to the second; there are some types of offender for whom incarceration is necessary to prevent them doing more harm serial murderers for example. Many of these, however, are confined in high-security hospitals, outside the prison system. For the vast majority, whether or not prison protects society from the harm they may cause depends crucially on rehabilitation; the third justification.

    This, unfortunately, is where prisons fall down, and dramatically so. The proportion of convicted criminals who commit further offences hovers at around 40% in the UK.

    This week is "Prisons Week", a time when Christians across the UK are asked to pray for prisoners. It might also, then, be an opportunity to reflect on the usefulness, even the moral propriety of our penal system. Are we, as a society, happy to be seen as good at punishment, but rather less good at helping people to change their ways? Does prison do what it is meant to do? Is what we mean it to do defensible?

    Conclusion: Prisons should not be abolished because they help protect the community, help the criminals with rehabilitation and proper consequences, and are not as bad as everyone (Tv shows, movies, etc.) make it seem to be. That is why I strongly urge you for a negative ballot.

    Posted at April 16, 2015 11:42:41PM EST by Dillon Somodji



    None available for this speech.


    This match has been completed. Show the Decision.

    Submitted at April 18, 2015 10:33:34PM EST by Joe Leeson-Schatz

    The decision is for the Opposition: Dillon Somodji

    Reason for Decision:

    The proposition didn't post their closing speech or contact the tournament by the deadline, resulting in a forfeit.

    Add Comment

    Please Create an Account or Log-In to post comments.

    Connect with Binghamton:
    Twitter icon links to Binghamton University's Twitter page YouTube icon links to Binghamton University's YouTube page Facebook icon links to Binghamton University's Facebook page Pinterest icon links to Binghamton University's Pinterest page

    Binghamton University Online Debate Platform powered by: