Instigator / Con

The US Should Abolish its Prison System


The debate is finished. The distribution of the voting points and the winner are presented below.

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After 1 vote and with 2 points ahead, the winner is...

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Three days
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One month
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Contender / Pro

Burden of proof is shared.

Round 1
Abolish: to end the observance or effect of (something, such as a law) to completely do away with (something)

It is extremely difficult to argue against a prison system. To have no prison system, is absolutely insane. Throughout history we have had a need to deter crime, to stop the madness of desperation and greed. With no prison system, it is difficult to say if there will be a way to keep the people safe. There are countless problems with a lack of prison system. Looking at every other country in the world, all countries with a well developed economy, political system and society has a prison system. This is a well known fact that needs no backing. I believe that the prison system has ways to fix itself, rather than completely getting rid of the prison system. It is important that the government give federal grants and encourage getting rid of bias within the police system. It's also important to ensure that court judges are less biased in the system. But without the prison system, all the guards, the architects, would be out of a job. Releasing the prisoners all at once would be chaotic, and deciding on their "sentences" when there is none would be absolutely nonsensical. Already, the first step act takes a great step in helping the US prison system. To abolish the system is to completely negate all the benefits this policy offers.

here are its claimed effects that pro must refute, as the page itself backs up the claims:

Reduction in Recidivism
Incentives for Success
Correctional Reforms
Sentencing Reforms
Changes to Mandatory Minimums for Certain Drug Offenders
Retroactivity of the Fair Sentencing Act
Expanding the Safety Valve

Because I do not understand pro's position, I will ask questions to probe at his true argument:
Q1: How does pro intend to solve crime through a way that is not a prison system?
Q2: How do we counteract the lost jobs in the prison system?
Q3: Why is abolishing superior to reforming? How is the prison system such a lost cause that it is impossible to reform?
Q4: If even US abolishes its prison system, what justification is there for other countries to keep theirs? 

Thanks so much to my opponent for what I’m sure will be a fascinating and educational debate. Let’s begin.


First, I’d like to thank my opponent for agreeing to a SHARED burden of proof (BoP), which means that Pro will be trying to provide evidence that the US should abolish prisons, and Con will be providing evidence that the US shouldn’t abolish prisons.

I agree to Con’s definition of “abolish.” Additionally, I’d like to define for this debate “prison.” My opponent has already agreed to this definition in a private message.

Prison: “A place designed to punish lawbreakers, characterized by isolation from the community, loss of many liberties and rights, restrictions of movements, temporary forfeiture of most belongings, restrictions of interpersonal communications, discipline, and constant observation by armed security forces with the legal right to punish the noncompliance of prisoners.”

I want to be clear: I am not arguing that prison should be reformed, or that a part of prison should be removed. I am arguing that prisons should be ABOLISHED, that either prisons simply go away or they are transformed into something entirely different.

I propose that voters should judge this debate in terms of ethics. What I mean by ethics here is a mixture of two things: Moral obligations (such as not doing evil) and ethical outcomes (i.e. doing more good and less harm). I think that this understanding of morality gets the heart of the debate--about whether the prison system is an evil, harmful machine or a morally good, beneficial structure. 


History of Modern Prisons
Prisons, as we know them today, are the proud result of decades of punishment reform activists, who argued against corporeal punishments (such as public whippings), humiliation tactics (such as being locked in stocks), public hangings, and chain gangs. The theory of modern prisons, or the “Pennsylvania system,” comes from Jeremy Bentham, the utilitarian philosopher, who designed the “panopticon.” The panopticon—which comes from the Greek “all-seeing”—is designed as an observation tower surrounded by a series of transparent cells. The theory is that the imprisoned people would live as if under constant observation—from each other, and potentially from the guards in the tower—and would subsequently improve their behaviors. The first Pennsylvania prisons adopted the principles of the panopticon, but also added isolated cells. They justified these cells via Christian monastic morality—by isolating prisoners, they would have nothing to do but pray, meditate, eat simple food, and read religious scriptures. As Michel Foucault remarks in Discipline and Punish, it moves from a punishment of the body to a disciplining of the soul.

Purpose of Prisons
Usually, when asked to justify prisons, many argue that prisons are rehabilitate prisoners and a deter crime. In theory, prisons both improve the imprisoned people so that they commit fewer crimes, and deter further crimes from happening inspiring fear of punishment. In truth, however, prisons neither decrease violent crimes (and in fact in some instances raise violent crimes) nor do they reduce recidivism.

Yet, paradoxically, I have reason to believe that the prison system isn’t broken, but in fact is working EXACTLY how it was intended to. The true purpose of prison isn’t to end violence—it is, rather, to hide violence from wider communities. The true purpose of prison isn’t to reform imprisoned people—it is to dis-empower them, punish their souls, isolate them, exploit them, torture them, and create a caste system that reduces their humanity. Prisons are WORKING.

As Angela Davis writes in Are Prisons Obsolete? “In most circles prison abolition is imply unthinkable and implausible” (9). Why? Largely because, despite the fact that the widespread use of prisons as punishment is a very recent invention, prisons have become so naturalized—so wound up within our understanding of what Foucault calls “biopower” and Michelle Alexander refers to as “racial caste”—that we simply cannot see outside of it. Like Con writes, abolishing prison seems “insane.” 

However, as Davis also writes that “The prison is not the only institution that has posed complex challenges to the people who lived with it and have become so inured to its presence that they could not conceive of society without it” (22). Indeed, she points that both the Divine Right of Kings and mass slavery were every bit as naturalized as mass incarceration.   

Racial Caste and Slavery: The New Jim Crow
As the documentary 13th points out, slavery was never actually fully abolished in the United States legal system. The famous 13th Amendment to the Constitution abolishes slavery EXCEPT in the case of punishment for crimes: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

As Michele Alexander points out in The New Jim Crow, Jim Crow laws were enacted in the United States after the abolition of (some) slavery in order to maintain caste, partly by imprisoning Black people and forcing them to do hard labor for little to no money. Mass imprisonment, according to this history, was used to re-enslave Black people in the United States. As Lisa Guenther writes in Solitary Confinement, “Blacks who had been forced to pick cotton as slaves found themselves picking cotton as convicts—sometimes on the same plantations as before” (40). At the same time, various legislation “disenfranchised blacks and discriminated against them in virtually every sphere of life, lending sanction to a racial ostracism that extended to schools, churches, housing, jobs, restaurants, hospitals, orphanages, prisons, funeral homes, morgues, and cemeteries” (Alexander).

This Jim Crow era of laws "ended" after Brown v Board of Education and the Civil Rights Act. However, as Alexander makes clear, racial caste far from over. This was the era of the Southern Strategy, of racial oppression masked by the rhetoric of “racial blindness” of Nixon and Reagan. These presidents used code words like “law and order” to characterize the Civil Rights movement as bunch of Black criminals (much like Trump talks about BLM today), and under cover of a “war on drugs” and a “war on crime” created laws to incarcerate hundreds of thousands of people, especially Black and Latinx people, where they continued to do free or low-paid labor under threat of punishment. Mass imprisonment—the new Jim Crow—thus reinstated the racial caste by creating a population of disproportionately Black people devoid of rights, social life, liberty, security, and dignity, many of whom are still quite literally enslaved--forced to do work for no pay under threat of punishment.

According to Wendy Sawyer and Peter Wagner, “The American criminal justice system holds almost 2.3 million people in 1,833 state prisons, 110 federal prisons, 1,772 juvenile correctional facilities, 3,134 local jails, 218 immigration detention facilities, and 80 Indian Country jails as well as in military prisons, civil commitment centers, state psychiatric hospitals, and prisons in the U.S. territories.” Over two million people in the United States exist without legal protection, property, dignity, and liberty. Many of them do labor for little to no money, and are subject to extraordinary abuse that I will outline in the next round. This is both the highest population of prisoners and highest rate of imprisonment in the history of the world, including South African Apartheid, contemporary China, and the USSR. Moreover, “African Americans are incarcerated in state prisons across the country at more than five times the rate of whites”. This is, to put it mildly, a case of extraordinary injustice. As Foucault writes: "We are now far away from the country of tortures, dotted with wheels, gibbets, gallows, pillories; we are far, too, from that dream of the reformers, less than fifty years before."


The High Cost of Prisons & Unemployment
My opponent raised the concern that people who work at prisons will lose their jobs, leading to unemployment. Let me address this.

Prisons are outrageously expensive, costing taxpayers (at a conservative estimate) $80 billion every year, at about $35,000 per year per prisoner. 
There are currently about 454,500 people who work in US prisons with an average yearly salary of $45,000 for a total of $19 billion. By abolishing prison, the US will save so much money, that I propose that the US give every prison worker $45,000 for the rest of their lives.

With the remaining $61 billion dollars every year, I suggest the US invest in:
  • drug prevention programs
  • addiction recovery programs
  • domestic abuse programs
  • food stamps
  • home improvement initiatives
  • housing subsidy programs
  • mental health hospitals and programs 
to prevent crime, provide new jobs, and increase quality of life

On the First Step Act
My opponent’s other main point is that somehow abolishing prison would negate the effect of a recent piece of prison reform. I think my opponent may have misused their website—the website refers to what they HOPE the legislation will do, not what it actually does. Additionally, any “improvements” to the prison system refer to improvements as compared to the previous prison system, not as compared to the absence of imprisonment. There is no evidence that the “First Step Act” has done even one of the things Con suggested. 

To conclude, imprisonment fails to prevent crime and reform prisoners, but that’s not its purpose. Prisons instead SUCCEED in maintaining slavery, the racial caste system, and state power through discipline, torture, and the deprivation of liberty and dignity. The prison system perpetuates some of the worst harms in the United States, and therefore ought to be abolished. I look forward to my opponent’s rebuttal.

Round 2
con has failed to address question 1, and question 4. He has only focused on our current inability to fix the situation, but every single problem can be solved by reforming problems at the root. He must prove beyond a shadow of doubt that America, if potentially replaced by Europe's system, will still fail to commit its goals. But already a site has managed to show that reforms greatly reduce costs he has said, and continuing reform at a substantial level WILL drop his number much lower than he tries to say. 

"Evidence-based prison programming has been shown to reduce recidivism, save taxpayer expenditures, increase future employment for individuals who are incarcerated, and decrease rule violations in prison facilities. Here are just a few prison reform statistics showing positive results when prison facilities provide programming or allow non-profit organizations to provide such programming:
  • Mental health support in prison was found to reduce misconduct incidents by 22 percent.
  • Substance abuse treatment in one California prison resulted in a 48 percent reduction in reincarceration.
  • One holistic faith-based program reduced future reincarceration by 40 percent for those who graduate the program.
Educational and vocational classes have been studied extensively and found to be some of the most effective programs in prison reform. Research shows that these types of programs reduce recidivism by 13 percent, reduce incident reports for prisoner misconduct by 4 percent, and increase post-release employment by 13 percent. Every taxpayer dollar spent on educational and vocational training programs for prisoners saves five dollars on law enforcement and corrections expenditures in the future."

Con thinks that we should entirely throw away the system, instead of trying to fix the problem. As a scholarly article tells us: "Between the 1970s and the late 2000s, the United States experienced an enormous rise in incarceration, a substantial portion of which was caused by high rates of return to prison among those previously incarcerated. This study shows that such returns are primarily a product of postprison community supervision rather than criminogenic effects of imprisonment, as many individuals sentenced to prison become trapped in the escalating surveillance and punishment of the criminal justice system. In other words, the rise in incarceration in the United States in the late 20th and early 21st centuries was in part a self-perpetuating process resulting from the workings of the criminal justice system itself."

Con's article says there is no reduce, but also points out the key problem the federal government ignores: "When formulating public policy, officials should know clearly whetherimprisoning offenders will make them more or less criminal upon their returnto society. Without such knowledge, ignorance reigns, and the risk rises thatprison policies will needlessly endanger community safety, drain the publictreasury, and entrap offenders in a life in crime. There is, in short, a high costfor ignoring the science of prison effects".

The solutions to con's problems are easy. Put a better focus on rehabilitation so that the cons are reduced. Scale back prisons by at least 90%, so that cost is massively reduced. Teach police and lawmakers from a basic standpoint to put their personal bias out of question, give them classes, test them and have a 12 juror system to make the judging more fair for criminals. In order for con to win, he must  prove that the federal laws would be so costly, that we would rather have potential violent criminals run free, than replace US with Europe's Prison system. Or, he can prove that no matter how many reforms you have, even Europe's prison system is not worthy of being run, and thus no country should have prisons. In addition, con MUST address what should actually be done with violent criminals. With no actual solution in place, people can do anything they want, which is anarchy. With power solely invested in the people, the world is chaos, and the government is completely useless. There must be someway to address criminals in Con's universe. With nothing, the slippery slope of complete chaos, is far worse than any economic cost or a stagnating crime rate.

Thanks to my opponent for their important response. I look forward to addressing their questions and counterarguments.

First, I want to clarify further the meaning of a shared burden of proof. Con writes: “He [sic] must prove beyond a shadow of doubt that America, if potentially replaced by Europe's system, will still fail to commit its goals”, which can be misleading. In truth, (1) I am not obligated to prove anything “beyond a shadow of a doubt” and (2) Con also has to prove that prisons are good. Remember, we are both obligated to provide evidence for our cases

Con does not contest my proposed weighing mechanism of “ethics.” Judges, please therefore evaluate this debate in terms of the moral obligations and ethical outcomes of each case. 

The spirit of the debate
I am grateful to my opponent for allowing me to take what I recognize is a very unpopular position. To most people, I’m sure it does seem “insane” to want to abolish prison. However, sometimes these seemingly “insane” debate positions can actually be the most educational. Judges, I ask that you therefore please consider the position of prison abolition with an open mind, in the spirit of debate, despite the unpopularity of this position.

On prison reform vs. abolition

Purpose of the prison, continued
As I discussed in the last round, the purpose of prison is neither to stop crime nor to reform criminals, but rather to exercise power—including both disciplinary power (Foucault) and racial power (Alexander). It is a system designed to punish the souls of those who exist outside of the protection of the powerful for their violations of norms of society—not to make them better, but to make the violence against them disappear. 

Extend my analysis that the very purpose of prison is to dominate and oppress. The prison system can be and has been reformed over and over again, and yet has continued to enact worse and worse violence. That is why reform does not work to reduce violence—prisons are themselves designed to be violence.

A history of reform
“It is ironic,” Professor Davis writes, “that prison itself was a product of concerted efforts by reformers to create a better system of punishment.” As I have already pointed out, the penitentiary came from ideas on Christian seclusion and Bentham’s panopticon. Later reformers argued against old prisons because of their lax procedures (52). Out of these critiques came more control, fewer freedoms, more frequent searches, and more dehumanizing practices against prisoners. Later, in an effort to create “greater security” in prisons, reformists developed supermax prisons, or “the perfect complement for the horrifying personalities deemed the worst of the worst by the prison system.” Moreover, reforms aimed at reducing the cost of prisons established the privatization of prisons, where the rights of imprisoned people are even more restricted.

In other words, prison reforms have historically not only failed to address the violence of the prison system, but have in fact participated in and amplified this violence. 

Don’t get me wrong—compassionate prison reform is better than no prison reform. However, prison reform fails to get at the root of the violence of the prison system. We need something radically different.

Rebutting con’s counter-plan
Dropping their earlier argument for the First Step Act, Con argues in this round for prison reform by introducing prison programming. These programs include mental health support, substance abuse treatment, holistic faith-based programs, and educational and vocational classes. 

I actually agree with Con that these kinds of programs can be helpful. However, they can actually be done a lot better outside of prison. 

Most of these reform programs are aimed at merely reducing the harms that prisons cause. Con’s own article argues that the effects of imprisonment are terrible for those who are released, with 80% of those released eventually returning to prison, 74% of those released being unable to find jobs, and 48,000 legal barriers to actually finding jobs. 

Instead of using these programs to reduce the harm of prisons, the US should fund these vocational, mental health, educational, and substance abuse programs without prison. In fact, without prisons, the US would be able to fund these programs using billions of dollars more.

Thus, all of Pro’s proposed benefits for prison reform due to programming actually go to Con’s plan of abolishing prison, including the reduction of recidivism, the saving of money, and the reduction of violent incidents.

Con argues for a “European style” of reform, but doesn’t specify what that system is.
Con argues for criminal justice reform, which I will address below.
Con argues for a 90% reduction in incarceration, without explaining what kind of legislation would do that—is Con legalizing something, decriminalizing something, randomly releasing prisoners, or what?

The harms of (reformed) prison

Fundamentally, prisons are characterized by isolation, the restriction of liberties, movements, and rights, and the constant fear of punishment from armed guards. Even if one reforms prison, one does not by definition address its fundamental qualities of oppression. 

Prison as slavery
As I point out in my first round, many scholars argue that prison is actually slavery. In the Angola prison in Louisiana, for example, inmates labor in fields without pay, and under threat of extreme punishment (such as solitary confinement). Even if they weren’t working in fields, prisoners are always at risk of abuse from guards, have no freedoms, have no access to their personal properties, and are at the mercy of the system. The Metropolitan Detention Center forced prisoners to endure freezing temperatures, denied prisoners medical care, and denied prisoners legal counsel. In Alabama prisons, prisoners were tied up and tortured, their faces flattened, prisoners doused in bleach, and beaten. 

So, the question remains. Should this literal slavery be reformed? Reduced? Or abolished? Con argues that 90% of prison should be reduced, but I contend that 10% of a bad thing is still bad.

Prison as caste
Extend my analysis that imprisonment is a system whereby racial caste is created and perpetuated. I argue, uncontested, that the prison system creates and perpetuates a caste system of racism.

Prison’s hidden violence
The fact is, prison violence is rendered invisible. Every year, there are 24,661 allegations of sexual victimization in correctional facilities—and this is only what is reported. These allegations are rarely taken seriously by employees, and in fact are underreported. That’s not to mention the acts of everyday sexual violence against prisoners by the system—such as dehumanizing strip searches, anal probes, and humiliation and harassment by guards, or the extreme torture of solitary confinement, which can last for years and irreparably harms the psyche of prisons, especially the mentally ill. 

But the fact remains, prisons—being denied rights—have few resources to abuse that happens to them in prisons. They are isolated from communities, stigmatized, dismissed, and distrusted. Systemic violence can therefore happen against them frequently and unnoticed, until prisons take drastic steps, such as during the 2018 prison strike. There is incalculable violence being done to prisoners, and they are all silenced. 

Prison’s psychological effects
According to The Effects of Imprisonment, “10 of the most common adverse psychological effects of prison include: 
  • Delusions
  • Paranoia
  • Claustrophobia
  • Depression
  • Panic and stress
  • Denial
  • Nightmares, night terrors, insomnia
  • Substance abuse
  • Increased levels of hostility
  • Self destructive behavior
“Other effects include:

  • Dissociation and emotional withdrawal
  • Social withdrawal 
  • Diminished self esteem 
“It's also not uncommon for those who have gone to prison to develop PTSD from the trauma they faced behind bars or the stress of being arrested.”

Con makes no mention as to how his reforms will fix these problems.

Prison’s economic effects
Another problem with reformed prisons is that they are more expensive than the already extremely expensive prison system, costing millions of dollars. Using this money for other programs saves tens of billions of dollars. 


Violent crime prevention
Con says that without prisons there will be “chaos” and “anarchy,” but does not support this with any evidence. Con should remember that modern prisons are a relatively recent invention.

But, that begs the question, what should be done about violence? As I have shown last round, prisons not only fail to reduce violent crime, but in fact only increase violence. That’s not even to mention the fact that prisons, being a psychologically damaging, racist form of slavery, are themselves violent.  

Wealth inequality increases violent crime. Additionally, prisons, by impoverishing, stigmatizing, and psychologically harming prisoners, increase wealth inequality. If we want to stop violence, let’s end this expensive violent institution and use the funds to address the actual roots of violence.

On misc. criminal justice reforms
Con comes up with a number of programs aimed at improving the criminal justice system. What Con doesn’t do is show that any of them work. People have been working on trying to fix the justice system for a long time, and it isn’t easy. Moreover, even if Con does show that there are things that can be done to help the justice system, that doesn’t show that prisons are good—we can fix the justice system AND abolish prisons. 

Here is a list of alternatives to prison time.

On Con’s Q1 and Q4
I’m not sure why I am obligated to address Con’s questions, but here we go.
Q1: I have shown how my plan reduces crime.
Q2: Other countries are irrelevant to the debate, but I think it’d be great if they questioned their incarceral systems too.

Round 3
Notice how pro's entire argument hinges only on America's current failures and not how they can improve. The European prison system solves nearly all of his worries. As highlights, Europe focuses on rehabilitation, reducing incarceration to below 100 million in Germany and Netherlands, reducing cost and size by at least 2/3. 

Article further says:

Prisoners in the Netherlands and Germany have a “fair amount of control over their daily lives,” the Vera Institute report notes. They get to wear their own clothes and make their own meals, and they’re required to work and take classes. Guards also give them some sense of privacy by knocking before entering their cells. Prisoners have keys to their cells and separate, walled toilets.
By giving prisoners some independence, these European prisons provide inmates with skills they need to survive on the outside. One American official who visited a German prison with Vera noted, “If you treat inmates like humans, they will act like humans.”

A crucial reformation is needed to address prisoner rights:
In Germany and the Netherlands, prisoners get to keep many of their rights while they’re behind bars — like the right to vote and to receive some welfare benefits.
Inmates even sometimes get a chance to spend time away from prison. Some inmates in the Netherlands “report” to prison during the week and then go home and spend the weekends with their families so they can maintain those relationships.

Europe's treatment of prisoner is incredibly humane and even values their health greatly: "The European Prison Rules pay great attention to the safeguard of health inside prison. Many aspectsare specifically considered: the organisation of prison health care, the duties of the medical staff (i.e.medical confidentiality), the need to pay special attention to specific difficult circumstances(admission, isolation, etc.) or to peculiar needs (drug addiction, infectious diseases, mental health,etc.). Indeed medical issues are one of the most relevant (and often problematic) matter duringdetention. They affect, directly or indirectly, many aspects of the daily-life in prison and they areclosely related to human rights safeguard (Mann et al., 1994).

Starting with admission, the European Prison Rules prescribe to record “any visible injuries andcomplaints about prior ill-treatment; and subject to the requirements of medical confidentiality, anyinformation about the prisoner's health that is relevant to the physical and mental well-being of theprisoner or others” (15.1 e - f). Moreover, “as soon as possible after admission, information about thehealth of the prisoner on admission shall be supplemented by a medical examination” (16 a). In manycases, nevertheless, CTP reports relate that injuries observed upon arrival or sustained in prison areoften not recorded at all or not correctly recorded. All national regulations order that each prisonershall be visited within a few hours or days upon arrival. However, due to a lack of funding orunwillingness of professionals to work in prisons, physicians have in some cases reduced their presencein prison, so it happens that the first visit takes place several days after the admission or it consistsmerely of a few questions and does not include a comprehensive physical examination".

The fact that Europe's standard directly counters Slavery (same source) shows there is yet hope for America's system: "As for prisoners' socio-economic characteristics prior to their imprisonment, they are to a greaterextent unemployed and have no qualifications (Morgan, Liebling: 2007; Combessie, 2001).To get a job during detention is likely the most shared target among prisoners. “Finding a way ofearning a living is the most important part of a prisoner's ability to reintegrate into society on releasefrom prison. For many prisoners their time in prison may be the first opportunity that they have had todevelop vocational skills and to do regular work. The main purpose of requiring prisoners to work is toprepare them for a normal working life on their release from prison, not to make money for the pris onadministration or to run factories for the benefit of other parts of the Government” (Coyle, 2009: 89).According to the Association for the Prevention of Torture, work inside prison should not have apunitive character and it should be remunerated. Moreover, working hours should not exceed those inoutside work and the normal standard of health and safety at the workplace must be applied (APT,2002).European Prison Rules assert that: “Prison authorities shall strive to provide sufficient work of a usefulnature.” (26.2) Such activities have to be considered a positive element of the prison regime ratherthan punishment (26.1). In general terms, according to the national rules, it is possible to work both forthe prison administration and private companies. However, employability depends on the availabilityof work places, and during the economic crisis prison work opportunities have significantly decreasedalmost everywhere."

I could go on and list the entire document about how well made the European rules are to treat prisoners well and ensure that they are rehabilitated, and can go back to work instead of having no idea what to do (and having no ability to do anything). To win, Pro must prove that the European system does not work, despite merely only holding 100 million prisoners in Germany and Netherland, giving them rights, allowing them to work for future instead of forcing slavery, and also ensuring health care. Pro's studies only concern US and as such have nothing to do with the European system, should it replace the US prison system. 
Unfortunately because of personal issues I have run out of time, but basically my argument is this.

My opponent has basically proved that the less prison there is, the better. Germany and the Netherlands have reduced prison by extraordinary amounts, and have shown great improvements. I suggest we improve even more by eliminating the prison. Germany and the Netherlands have ALMOST abolished prisons, which have shown great benefits.

My opponent has failed to say one good thing about prison—only that some prisons are less bad than others (and, unsurprisingly, the less prison-like it is according to our definition of prison, the better.) Because the burden of proof is shared and because my opponent failed to say good things about prison, my opponent has failed their burden of proof.

Additionally, extend my analysis that many of the violences of prison are hidden, and so we would not be able to trust prison reform. Extend also that the US has tried prison reform in the past, but has consistently failed to make prison better. Extend also my argument that in the US, prisons were never meant to be helpful, only oppressive—so we can’t trust that the US will be able to fix their prison system.

Additionally, my opponent does show that Dutch and German prisons are less bad, but does not say HOW the US prison system (and criminal justice system) can utterly transform to become the German and Dutch models. There are so many changes that we would have to make—plus, because prisons are meant to be oppressive, there would be extraordinary social barriers to making these changes.

Not to mention the fact that even if we were able to make those changes to the US system, we would never be sure that they won’t degrade into the same oppressive system as before. Therefore extend all of my previous harms of prison. 

Additionally, my opponent has not shown that they’ve fixed the slavery, psychological harms of prison, the racial oppression of prison, the caste system, and the sexual violence of prisons through reform.

Also, I’d like to mention the fact that one of the reasons why the German and Dutch system works well is that they’ve found ALTERNATIVES to prison, which I mentioned in my last argument. Extend that alternatives to prison are better than prison.
Round 4
slavery: fixed by setting them up well for their lives in Europe

psychological: fixed by allowing families to visit and only a temporary stay, very friendly with guards in Europe

racial oppression: non-existent in Europe

sexual violence: far less in Europe

The problem with abolishment is that there are some people who are violent, murderous, and cannot be released into society. kbub calls for fines or community service, which are laughable punishments or attempt to keep away dangerous criminals. It is simply impractical, especially in Europe where the vast majority of problems are fixed. We treat prisoners as actual people, with some issues that need to be fixed and give them rights, reserving isolation for only the most extreme people who hold no remorse and cannot be treated. Vote me for Europe's system replacing America's system. The budget reduced by 2/3 would fix the majority of problems, and the wide sweeping reformations bring hope to the people while keeping true psychopaths in check, should they take advantage of a no-prison system.