Mudering a person is one of the worst crime that can be committed. It undermines the value of life and the punishment for this should be of comparable caliber. Should the minimum punishment be life in prison, or should the person have a chance to be released – that is what we are debating about.
The motion set forward in this debate is that “CONVICTED MURDERERS SHOULD NEVER BE RELEASED”.
The key phrases in this motion are “convicted murderers” and “never be released”.
By “convicted murderers” we mean people who have stood trial and have been found guilty by a constitutional court of committing murder. To clarify “murder”, this includes intentional killing only and not accidental killings.
By “should never be released” we mean that such convicts will have a minimum sentence of life in prison without parole. And this is what we will be debating on – whether people who stand within our definition of “convicted murderers” should stay in prison for as long as they live, if not facing capital punishment.
We, being the proposition will try to show that this is the right thing to do and will try to refute the opposition’s arguments against the motion.
All the Yes points:
All the No points:
If a convicted murderer is put in prison for life, it means that there is no chance of him harming anyone else unless he escapes, which is very unlikely. He is completely incapacitated. He has no chance of taking revenge against the people who put him into court, the family of the victim, the judges or anyone else. Family and friends of the victim will remain in fear if he is released. The locking up of murderers will mean that crime rates will drop as there is no chance of him coming out and committing murder or any other crime. This is particularly true for resource-poor countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, etc. which have police forces with limited resources, without effective systems and are not able to monitor released convicts. Even in developed countries, monitoring released murderers is costly and if it is not done the murderer may kill or commit other crimes again. As we the proposition are saying that life in prison should be the minimum punishment, the chances of a murderer commiting crimes again decreases significantly. The opposition might say that some murderers may change while in prison and should be released, but the fact is that we will never know for sure that whether the prisoner will change again after s/he is released.
Considering the arguments which have been put forward by the proposition instead of incapacitation we propose capacitating them. One thing is very much evident that according to them once a mistake, blunder or an illegal act has been committed by a person then that person’s life should be brought to an end by restricting that life to the walls of the prison only. This is an extremely inhumane and insane approach towards an issue as sensitive as a person’s life and in this case even if a murder has been committed by the convict still what we are talking about is the life of a living soul. Just like the old saying “every criminal is a product of the society” proposition team proves that they are very much part of this society and not the society which believes in change, restitution and reformation because one life has gone does not mean that the one which is still there shouldn’t be given a chance to survive. Also the fact that counter arguing what they have put the rebuttal for the same is that once they have gone to jail and face the hardship they would not like to repeat it as they just want to go through all that again .The side proposition has also failed to realise the effect it will have on their family. If the person is a parent won’t it affect the condition of the of the family and boast their moral. Fine if a mistake is committed but he has already served imprisonment for 12 or more years so he deserves parole or companionship. An eye for an eye then the whole world will be blind and by not wanting to believe that a person can change, we’ll let him die??How different are we all from the convicts then??
the last point put forward by the side proposition is that there can be no assurance that the person has reformed, then is how they suggest that let drug addicts also be confined indefinitely. what is the guarantee that the addict isn’t going to resort back to drugs, so lets confine him also!
in most cases a convict comes from violent backgrounds where from childhood he grows up seeing people vent their anger through violence in such an environment the child grows up thinking that it a rational way of reacting and it becomes a habit. in situations like these when the person is put into jails ad given anger management classes he changes and thus he should be given a chance.
coming to the point that the convicts family will be scared of him, we feel that the family will want their loved ones coming out as a new person rather than watch him rot in jail.
if giving a person death sentence can be against his human rights how is keeping him in confinement for the rest of his life any less than death, so is it not against human rights as well.
If life imprisonment is set as the minimum punishment, it will act as a deterrent for future crimes. People will think twice before committing murder. Murderers will try to make the court think that the killing was justified to reduce his sentence. But this is dangerous and if, according to our motion, he knows that he will not be able to reduce his sentence, he may not commit the murder in the first place since there is no chance of him getting anything but a sentence of life in prison. There are conclusive statistics that prove that capital punishment acts as a deterrent, which means that life imprisonment will also act as a deterrent too, even if not to the same extent.
According to the proposition, “If life imprisonment is set as the minimum punishment, it will act as a deterrent for future crimes. People will think twice before committing murder”. This argument completely overlooks the significance of the intention behind the punishment given to a convict. The major reason behind giving any sort of punishment to a person found guilty of murder or any act is to make them learn a lesson. But by sentencing them with life imprisonment this intention cannot be fulfilled. The only result of this step would be further acceleration of the detestation experienced by the convict. A full stop will be put to any scope of improvement in the person and it is easy to put a full stop but very difficult to continue writing after the comma. We the opposition believe in continuing writing. Also, according to a report, in Unites States of America, the state spends more than $25,000 per inmate each year which is more than $1 billion in total. We can easily imagine what the figures will be if these convicts are made to live their entire lives in the prison and if the setback to the economies as developed as USA will be so substantive then we can easily surmise how disastrous an effect it will have on the less developed countries like India, Bangladesh,Pakistan,etc. The point that if u keep some one for the rest of their life in confinement then he will try and escape and when he does so he is more blood hungry than before. So by keeping him without giving him an opportunity we are in fact aggravating his anger. First that indefinite confinement does not deter the person from committing crimes in future .Second keeping him in confinement is violating his right to life instead it further elevates the feelings of detestation and resentment. Allowing him to languish in the prison will only frustrate him: not act as a deterrent
The first line of the opposition’s arguments seems to be a bit dramatic. They propose “capacitating” convicted murderers. The very thought of “capacitating” murderers for reasons specified by the oppositions sends chills down my spine. The opposition has said that prisoners have families who will suffer and that we should not take an eye for an eye. They have compared murderers to drug addicts to show that if we are to keep murderers in prison with fears of them committing crimes again, we should keep drug addicts too. They have also written about how keeping the convicts in prison will lead to the acceleration of detestation experienced by the convict.
In the very first part of the case that they highlighted the fact that these murderers are “products” of the very society we are from. We agree. But yet it seems that there is a drastic difference – they murdered people, whereas most of the rest cannot even think of committing murder. These “bad products” of the society are made only due to existing bad elements within the society. Criminals, themselves, are such bad elements. If left in the society, these murder convicts will lead to the degradation of the society around them. By removing the bad elements of the society, just like we remove malignant cells from a patient, we make the society a better place since the “products” of the society are less likely to be criminals.
The opposition also seems to be quite worried about the effects on the family of the convict, especially if the convict is a parent. What we do not understand is that if a parent actually cared about his/her children why s/he would commit a murder knowing that he would not be able to interact with them properly for the rest of his life. Cases of an actually responsible parent becoming a murder convict are extremely remote. In most cases, the children might be better off without the murderous parents guiding them. The last thing we would want is the child becoming a criminal too. And so here I can refer back to the aforementioned argument – taking out the bad elements will make the society a better place.
As for the comparison that the opposition has made with drug addicts, we think it is a completely unfair comparison as drug addicts who have not committed a crime or murder does not pose an immediate risk to the general people in the way that a proved and convicted murderer does. If drug addicts are released, they may become drug addicts again, but that does not mean they will harm others. However, if murderers are released, they may kill again. As for human rights, they have said that since capital punishment is against human rights, life imprisonment is too. Considering the basis of the argument, we might say that “if life imprisonment is against human rights, the imprisonment of people for long periods is too”, and so on. We believe that life imprisonment is not against human rights because the person is getting shelter, food and is not being tortured. His basic human rights are not being violated. He is only being confined to an area as a punishment for committing a crime. Rather, we are preventing him from violating the right of people to live.Is it really humane to let a convicted murderer go around free and put innocent lives at risk?
Besides this, in response to our “deterrence” argument, the opposition has said that keeping convicts in prison would anger them and would not deter them in the future (To quote: “… that indefinite confinement does not deter the person from committing crimes in future”). They seem to have misunderstood our argument. Firstly, these convicts will never go outside the walls of the prison, so we are not worried about whether he is angry or sad. What we talked about was the deterrence of future crimes because other criminals become afraid of receiving a minimum sentence of life-imprisonment and crime rates drop.
In the presented case, the opposition has brought in sayings that try to make the society a better place. For example, “An eye for an eye will make everyone blind”. What they do not seem to show comprehension of is that these old sayings are not fitting here. In the context of our arguments, if we do what has been proposed in the motion, we would not be taking an eye for an eye – instead, we would not only be preventing the original eye-taker(murderer) from taking more eyes(incapacitation), but we would also make other criminals afraid to take eyes(deterrence). In this way, eye-takings will be reduced and the society will be better, filled with people who have brilliant eyes, and not blind people.
It seems that the proposition has a preconceived notion that ‘once a murderer always a murderer’. All they believe is that as soon as the convicted murderer would be set out free, the very first thing he will do is to go out and start killing people again which is ridiculous and illogical. What we believe is that once the convicted has served his term in the prison and has been reformed, we see no reason why he should still be confined in the walls of the prison. Furthermore, what perplexes me is that the proposition has come out with an absurd argument that the prisoners are not at all tortured in the prison and they enjoy their food and shelter. The proposition is far away from the ground reality and is subjected to gruesome violence. The proposition seems to lack any substantial argument and they are just basing their arguments on a single point that the convicted murderer will always have the notion of indulging in homicide. What they fail to understand is that a person can be reformed by paying for his mistake i.e. by serving his term and which cannot be realized by allowing him to languish in the prison for his lifetime. “Who has not hated is not human, but who hates still, loses their humanity”.
If the proposition connotes the reality as “Drama” then all we can do is hope that the bubble they live in will burst some day and they will realize the reality which shouts clearly that ,a mistake was committed, the payment for the same was also made by serving imprisonment for 12-15 years but now the time has come to implement the correction or use the lesson which were corrected or learnt in the corrective institution or jail to build a better future. There are several cases in which some mistakes have contributed to a better character position and improved the role or position in which a person works, which state and support this reality that when this chance was given, efforts were made to use them in the most effectual way possible which can be further proven by the following article in a national newspaper .One of the major points is that we can never be sure about the circumstances or the reasons which had actually compelled the person to take the decision of taking somebody’s life. Moving on to our worthy proposition’s point of “drastic difference” between us and the convicts, all we have to say is that we agree that they have murdered people and that is precisely the reason why they are denoted as “convicted murderers” but the fact that we are not ready to give them a chance to change or wanting to believe that they can change and letting them die, isn’t it instead of making us “drastically different” is actually making us a part of them only??”.
Also, as far as their point of “bad products of the society are made only due to existing bad elements within the society” and “removing them, just like we remove malignant cells from a patient “, we the opposition would like to remind them that similar to this is the case of moldings of the most unusable and worst form of iron, the pig iron to wrought iron which is the most usable form which further helps in improving the condition of the economic society just like the process of reformation or moldings of a “convict” or “bad element” into a more useful person thus helping in building a better society. Now, coming to their point of how the prisoners are not being denied their human rights and not being tortured, the opposition would like to again point out that that maybe the proposition is forgetting that these convicts actually experience the worst form of torture that exists which destroys the person’s very existence which is the “mental and emotional torture” and the number of convicts who can actually bear this violation of their human right is not extremely remote but zero. moving ahead, we would like to point out once again that it was on the basis of the propositions earlier argument according to which “if capital punishment acts as a deterrent then that means that life imprisonment will also act as a deterrent too” that we based our argument which states that “since capital punishment is against human rights, life imprisonment is too.”. It seems the proposition is contradicting themselves only by their present argument. Further coming to their point of how we have supposedly “misunderstood” their argument, our largesse will again allow us to remind our quite forgetful proposition that how can they presume with such surety that ,( to quote them)”these convicts will never go outside the walls of the prison, so we are not worried about whether he is angry or sad.” , when they had themselves earlier stated that there are “resource-poor countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, etc. which have police forces with limited resources, without effective systems “. If, according to them, there are so many chances of inefficiency in the developing countries then the how can they be so sure that these convicts will not try to escape??? and we think it can be guess as to how many escapes take place from the prisons all over the world. This further proves our earlier point that it is the indefinite confinement which is the reason behind the culmination of hatred and resentment which compels the convicts to opt for these steps. In the context of the arguments made by the proposition, we would like to say that if these are the ways through which they are trying to make the society a better place then we are afraid to say that the only thing they are doing is put the society at a much higher risk. They are “preventing” some more “brilliant eyes” to enter the society and make it more visionary. The question that the proposition brought out about not knowing if the convict has changed when released, I would like to point out that we had already mentioned that it is only after observing a change in the behavior of the convict will he be released. they tried to counter our argument on human rights by saying that if life imprisonment is against human rights, so is confinement.
I would like to clarify that keeping someone behind bars for the rest of his life is equivalent t death. He isn’t given another opportunity and is to live the same routine or the rest of their life. They said that by keeping them in confinement for the rest of their life they are doing them a favor, providing them with shelter and food but they are subjecting the convict to life long torture by the officers. They will be ridiculed, sodomised, insulted and beaten senselessly. And if the proposition wants to suggest otherwise, we would just like to point out that the country that believes the most in human rights – America could not assure it in Guantanamo Bay Further more lets talk about China, where the rule is so ruthless that they can mo down students for protesting, we are to believe that the convicts there will not be subjected to torture.
The opposition has given some statistics about the cost per inmate in the USA to show how exorbitant the costs of keeping inmates in the prison will be. However, at the same time, they recommend anger management programmes so that murderers can come out as better people. We believe that these programmes are not foolproof and can easily release a person who will kill again. However, if we consider that this works, and we follow the case presented by them, it seems the costs will be higher. Pursuing anger-management programmes which require hiring of many highly-skilled psychologists is likely to be more expensive than only giving the basic facilities to prisoners in most countries. In developing countries, finding able psychologists willing to work in prisons is not only unlikely but almost impossible. And to add to that, this huge investment would not always give the result expected and thus leading to misused money.
In addition, keeping these convicts in prison means that the people in the society are freer and this may lead to greater economic activity. This is particularly true for countries where businessmen are often the targets of extortion followed by murder. There are many such countries in South Asia and Africa. Bangladesh is one such country (One can see the search results in a local daily when searched with “businessmen dead” – http://www.google.com/search?ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sitesearch=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.thedailystar.net&q=businessman+dead&domains=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.thedailystar.net.)
Due to the reduction of crime rates through the punishment proposed by us, the businessmen may act freely, leading to greater economic activity. A better law and order situation may also encourage multinationals to locate in some developing countries.
The proposition believes that the anger management programmes, counseling, sessions, medical facilities etc, as recommended by us, for helping the convicts are supposedly not “fool proof” .In
accordance with that. We might say that several other things are also not full proof. For e.g.: the security systems of the prisons, the police force etc of several countries and especially developing
countries like Bangladesh ,Nepal etc and thus convicts or prisoners can easily escape, so forth and so on. However, while analyzing the case presented by them, what we have noticed is that there is a hell lot of a difference between the expenses which will be incurred on the basis of the reason, motive and result desired. One price will be paid to save a life and another to help in ending one. To facilitate the means to an end. Along with this, with the price paid for the classes there will be a potential hope that those expenses surely can be reduced one day but with the policy of indefinite life imprisonment, we cannot have any such hope and can easily imagine that in the long run, it will be the cost incurred in the proposition’s policy which will be higher. Furthermore, the point of the proposition that confining the prisoner in the walls of the jail is economically viable also lacks substance and logic. They need to realize that cost per inmate is much higher than the anger management and other psychological activities. They seem to contradict their own statement by saying on one hand that Bangladesh is an underdeveloped country and on the other by saying that keeping the convicted murderers is economically viable. We wonder how that is economically viable since confining them in the prison would eventually mean setting up of more and more cells and employing more and more persons to supervise the cells which is not so viable for underdeveloped countries which lack the adequate funds and resources. We however feel that unless we give out clear examples it might be a little difficult to understand. Let’s say that once this model of theirs comes into force there are about 10 convicts who have been awarded life imprisonment. Now he state has to provide for these 10 convict and then there are 10 more the next month; they now have to provide for 20 and this number keeps increasing. Instead if they had a counselor the first 10 could have been released and the state would have to provide for less convicts and thus no matter what the time period we consider there will always be less convicts to provide for if they are released. “They need to realize cost per inmates is high. Also if life time imprisonment is the minimum punishment there will be a need to build more cells to provide space for the pre-existing convicts as well as the additional. Instead if there is a counselor then this counselor not only provides for the murder convicts but even those for other crimes as well
Murdering a person is one of the worst crimes that can be committed. It undermines the value of life and the punishment for this should be of comparable calibre. Should the minimum punishment be life in prison or should the person have a chance to be released – that is what we debated about. The motion set forward in this debate was that “CONVICTED MURDERERS SHOULD NEVER BE RELEASED”.
For most of us, murdering a person is unimaginable. It takes a great degree of motivation and determination to finally pull the trigger, thrust the knife into a body or to hit someone with full force, knowing that the one doing this is going to watch the victim’s life drain out of his eyes. That final act of defiance has to overcome a mental barrier that prevents us all from going out and killing people. And once that has been overcome, it is easier to do it the second time. That is why serial killers and gang members are often the most ruthless killers. For most murderers, killing for the second time is easier than killing the first time.
We the proposition argued that murderers should never be released because they pose a serious threat to innocent people and reforming them is almost impossible, not foolproof and not economically viable for many countries.
We based our arguments and counter arguments on these basic facts –
1. The murderers will not pose a risk to the people since they will be within prison walls,
2. The punishment of prisoners will deter other criminals from committing murders,
3. The chances of changing a murderer into a good person is almost impossible, not foolproof and not economically viable for many countries,
4. And that life imprisonment is not a breaking of human rights.
However, what the opposition proposed was to overhaul the complete criminal procedure system. They suggest offering counselling classes to all murderers so that they can be changed and made into productive members of the society. They suggest release of this prisoners when a “change has been observed in them” without mentioning how that change will be measured, and only directly offered this very important argument at the second phase of their debate. They have imagined up and presented to us a world where torture that “destroys the person’s very existence” is commonplace and almost always happens in prisons and where murderers are like soft clay which can be moulded like the opposition wants them to into good productive members of the society where they will pose no risk whatsoever to innocent people.
Throughout the debate we have emphasized the fact that what the opposition suggested was not practical. Cases of murderers being good again are extremely rare. It is true what the opposition said about many of these murderers being mislead. This is true for people like members of gang. For these people committing is not even a big deal. Convincing them to go against the very ideas they were born into is not only difficult, it is almost impossible. And we cannot even be sure at the end whether their instincts have changed- so we cannot take the risk. They have quoted from the Bible, saying that people SHOULD be healed, but what if they CANNOT be healed. We will not know if they have actually been healed and we simply cannot take that risk. They have imposed the idea that if we follow the motion, we will be one of the murderers since we take their lives. What they fail to understand is that we are saving other people’s lives.
They want to release prisoners once they have observed a change in them – but how do we measure this change? – Can we afford repeated trials? – And how do we know that the changes are for real? – And even if they are, how do we know that the murderers will not change again after release? We think that the better alternative to making guesses which can risk the lives of innocent people is to not make guesses at all.
They have talked about torture through the example of Gitmo. But that is even a thing that most Americans are ashamed off. Civilian prisons do not allow torture, and practising it is a crime. Life imprisonment is not a breaking of human rights since prisoners are getting their basic human rights, and there is a right of people to live without fear, and if murderers were released, that right would be sacrificed.
Near the end of their arguments, they have shown some simple mathematics to show how counselling classes will be cheaper in long run. The proposition was amazed at how vaguely they took the matter of counselling. The example assumed that all the murderers who were counselled would be released. We wish convincing people was that easy. Neither one of us till now seems to be able to convince the other of how we are right – convincing a murderer is going to be even harder. If we do follow their proposal, very few murderers will be released and counselling has to be continued for the rest. And then there are obviously the costs of “observing change” along with the counselling costs. In the end this becomes costlier than the alternative proposed by us and not vice versa. If murderers were to be released so easily, and if I were a murderer, I would pretend to have been changed during the counselling classes, come out, commit crimes again, knowing that all I had to do was pretend to have been changed during the counselling classes that I would have to face in prison.
We argued resource-poor countries like Bangladesh and Nepal would have trouble keeping prisoners on watch during parole and to give counselling classes. In reply to that they suggested that since the prisons were such, prison-escapes would also be high. Here a question arises – should we guess and release prisoners to put innocent people at risk, or should we try our best to stop escapes, which is much easier than monitoring released prisoners. They have to remember the prisoners are also resource-poor, so escaping for them is also not easy.
Besides this we have also pointed out that without the murderers the society would be a better place, as the young people are not being influenced by them. Gang memberships would decrease and less people would be misled. We also pointed out that in some countries businessmen would be freer and economic activity would increase.
In the end, we the proposition think that the governments of countries should do as proposed by us so that they can fulfil the promise of protecting the citizens of the country so that the people do not have to live in fear anymore.
We are already aware that the basis of formation and sustenance of a government are its three organs-the legislature which makes the laws, the judiciary which is the final interpreter and the executive which implements them. In the recent past, it has been observed and witnessed final interpreter and the executive which implements them.. One clear message which these steps of the government are giving is that ultimately the motive which sustains is the betterment of society by giving an opportunity to change. This has further proven our point that reformation and restitution and change are not tough to do unlike what side proposition thinks. There are several viable sources which also support our argument. The bible says that “the person should be rather healed than punished because this healing will then help in making that person a better human whereas the act of punishment will only make us lose another life
In numerous cases it has been seen that many murders were committed by people who were suffering from various mental or emotional problems. Tormented childhood, improper upbringing etc are some of the reasons responsible for these convicts to act in such away. What is expected from us humans is again a “humane approach” to help these people. Proper medical facilities etc can be very helpful in these cases instead of just bringing their life to a dead end. There have been numerous convicts who’ve pursued their degrees from the prison and later have contributed to the building and development of the society as proved before. So the point which we the opposition is remonstrating is that many a times the person who is found guilty of an act may actually be innocent. What is needed is, that one chance to be given to the person. That one chance to improve upon the mistakes that were done before. That one chance to welcome a positive change which will help in SAVING a life. To further prove it that’s its society will for such a move is like there are like almost 10000 petition written to USA President to remove the Code Of Criminal Procedure that after serving the sentence of murder in the prison the person should be left on parole after he or she is deemed fit to be a part of the society again. For that matter even social networking sites such as orkut and facebook have groups and community to support the same. This proves completely the point that it’s the will of the people who wanted change in system unlike the proposition who still don’t accept change
We would love to hear what you think – please leave a comment!