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Binghamton Speech & Debate

Proposition: Kevin Vu (Winston Churchill High School) vs. Opposition: Nathan Stouffer (Wood River High School)

Judge: David Kane (Binghamton University)

Resolution: This house believes that prisons should be abolished

  • Kevin Vu
    Kevin Vu

    Nathan Stouffer
    Nathan Stouffer
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    Speech Details

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    Posted at April 13, 2015 05:52:31PM EST by Kevin Vu



    Resolve-This house believes that prisons should be abolished


    human rights-The basic rights and freedoms to which all humans are considered to be entitled, often held to include the rights to life,liberty, equality, and a fair trial, freedom from slavery and torture, and freedom of thought and expression.

    Reform-the improvement or amendment of what is wrong, corrupt, unsatisfactory, etc.

    FrameWork-The round should be weighted by a case benefit analysis in which the pro must show the harm of keeping prison and the con showing the benefits of keeping it.

    C:1 Prison violate human rights

    The Condition of prison are the cause of human right violations.

    "Prison and Detention Conditions." Prison and Detention Conditions. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Apr. 2015. <>.

    Prisoners and detainees in many local, state and federal facilities, including those run by private contractors, confront conditions that are abusive, degrading and dangerous. Soaring prison populations due to harsh sentencing lawswhich legislators have been reluctant to changeand immigrant detention policies coupled with tight budgets have left governments unwilling to make the investments in staff and resources necessary to ensure safe and humane conditions of confinement. Such failures violate the human rights of all persons deprived of their liberty to be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person, and to be free from cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

    Gabriel Eber 15,"NEW LAWSUIT: Massive Human Rights Violations at Mississippi Prison."American Civil Liberties ByUnion. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Apr. 2015. <>.


    EMCF is a cesspool. Prisoners are underfed and often held in rat-infested cells without working toilets or lights. The prison is dangerously understaffed, and prisoners routinely set fires to attract the attention of officers to respond to emergencies. Without sufficient staff to protect prisoners, rapes, beatings, and stabbings are rampant. And some of the most sadistic violence is inflicted on prisoners by security staff.
    EMCF is supposed to provide intensive treatment to the state's prisoners with severe psychiatric disabilities, but instead locks many in prolonged long-term solitary confinement often for years and denies prisoners even the most rudimentary mental health care services. Medical care is grossly substandard. One prisoner is now legally blind after EMCF failed to provide his glaucoma medications and take him to a specialist; another had part of his finger amputated after he was stabbed and developed gangrene.
    The Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC), which ultimately bears responsibility, has known about these conditions for years but failed to protect the health and safety of prisoners. In 2012, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center offered to pay for an assessment of the system, but the Mississippi Department of Corrections rejected the offer.
    Today, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the Law Offices of Elizabeth Alexander filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of prisoners at EMCF. The conditions at EMCF are blatantly unconstitutional and we fully expect to prevail in the lawsuit. We hope that MDOC Commissioner Epps will meet us at the negotiating table very soon to finally end the horrors and suffering at EMCF.

    C:2 Place criminal under surveillance instead of placing them in prison

    Annalee newitz 13"Should We Put Criminals under Surveillance Instead of in Prison?" Io9. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Apr. 2015. 3/13/13

    We've reached a point in our technological development where it might be possible to imprison people without jails just by using surveillance technology. And that's exactly what a group of researchers at DeLoitte hope to do.

    Over at Popular Mechanics, Eric Sofge has a fascinating article about a proposal that risk management corporation DeLoitte presented last week at the South by Southwest Interactive conference. The idea is to use everything from mobile tracking devices to remote breathalizer tests to keep convicts in line, while cutting down on the costs of maintaining jails. Sofge writes:

    In exchange for an early release from prison, Frank is living every privacy advocate's worst nightmare. His precise location is tracked and recorded at all times, the GPS transmitter on his wrist broadcasting every morning commute and lunch hour errand and visit with friends back to a map on his case manager's laptop. If Frank's blip deviates from his designated, geo-fenced portion of the map, the case manager gets an alert. If Frank's blip isn't home before curfew, another alert goes out. And if Frank is ordered by his case manager to check his own approximate blood alcohol content, using the BreathalEyes app on his government-provided smartphone (the app looks for the jagged, bouncing movement of a user's eyes, a tell-tale sign of inebriation), Frank listens. These are the terms of leaving prison earlyyou get to leave, but prison gets to follow.

    Of course, Frank Williamson isn't real, and neither is his free-range detention. Both were part of a proposal presented at a SXSW Interactive panel this past Saturday, as a novel solution to the overpopulation crisis facing prisons in the United States. The average federal facility is at 137% capacity, and climbing, as the in-flow of new prisoners continues to outpace the rate of release.

    If pity for the imprisoned isn't forthcoming, consider the amount of cash currently spent on incarceration. "To put an individual in prisons today costs $70 to $90 a day per person," said Alan Holden, one of two senior consultants at the panel from professional services firm DeLoitte, whose public scctor-minded thinktank produced the proposal. "Even the most expensive electronic monitoring solution on the market is $20 per day. You could double that cost, and still save 50 percent," Holden said.
    DeLoitte's proposal isn't science fiction, either. It's based on actual pilot programs at prisons around the United States. Read more at Popular Mechanics.

    Posted at April 14, 2015 11:43:12PM EST by Nathan Stouffer



    Elahi, Manzoor. "Social Contract Theory by Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau."Social Contract Theory by Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau., 2015. Web. 14 Apr. 2015. <>

    James, Erwin. "The Norwegian Prison Where Inmates Are Treated like People." Prisons and Probation. The Guardian, 25 Feb. 2013. Web. 14 Apr. 2015. <>.

    Posted at April 16, 2015 10:04:54AM EST by Joe Leeson-Schatz



    None available for this speech.

    Posted at April 16, 2015 07:11:39PM EST by Nathan Stouffer



    Same citations as last time.

    Posted at April 17, 2015 05:16:50PM EST by Kevin Vu



    None available for this speech.


    This match has been completed. Show the Decision.

    Submitted at April 17, 2015 10:29:30PM EST by David Kane

    Category Kevin Vu Nathan Stouffer
    Use of evidence: 2 2
    Delivery skill: 2 3
    Coherence of arguments: 2.5 3.5
    Responsiveness to opponent: 2.5 3
    Identification of key points: 3 3
    Comments: * It was not clear to me how your alternative would work, and your opponent picked up on that. To pick an example that your opponent raised of someone who has committed murder, how does knowing where a murder is prevent other murders? Your tech example seemed to be focused on drunk driving and might not be suitable for other crimes. You did make a decent case that your alternative would be cheaper, but you didn't make the case that it would be better.
    * You didn't counter the oppositions Norway prison example. Is that prison a violation of human rights? You also didn't counter the improved recidivism rate argument from the opposition.

    * You didn't really counter the oppositions replace vs reform argument. To answer the question you asked in closing, sure I'd like a new car, but only when the cost of repair becomes onerous, otherwise it is more effective to replace defective parts. You never made a case that prisons cannot be reformed as your opponent suggested.
    DO NOT LECTURE YOUR OPPONENT OR YOUR JUDGES ON THE RULES. It is one thing to point out what you consider to be a violation when it happens, but your admonition about raising points in the proposition's closing remarks is rude to everyone involved.

    Your opponent didn't give you a lot to work with, but you acted as if you had to race to get everything in. Instead, you rushed, and then repeated yourself.

    The decision is for the Opposition: Nathan Stouffer

    Reason for Decision:

    The opposition carried the round.

    The opposition defeated both of the main contentions of the proposition.

    In the first contention, the opposition argued that prisons could be reformed, and provided an effective example of a reformed prison that was never sufficiently rebutted.

    In the second contention, the opposition successfully argued that the prison-less alternative would not protect the community.

    1 Comment

    I would like to thank my judge and opponent for a great round! I am sorry if I offended you, I won't do that again, thank you for the feedback. Thanks again. - Nathan Stouffer on April 18, 2015 at 10:42PM EST

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