Instigator
Points: 8

Perpetrators of minor crimes should not be arrested

Finished

The voting period has ended

After 2 votes the winner is ...
Ragnar
Debate details
Publication date
Last update
Category
Society
Time for argument
Three days
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
Two weeks
Point system
Four points
Rating mode
Rated
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Contender
Points: 14
Description
Resolution: This House would encourage perpetrators of minor crimes not to be arrested
Definitions: Minor crimes are those which are of a less serious nature [1]. These include petty theft, vandalism, public intoxication, trespassing, and the like.
Rules: (1) No kritiks (2) BOP is shared (3) No new arguments in the final round
Sources: [1] https://definitions.uslegal.com/m/minor-offense/
Round 1
Published:

 
Let’s start this debate with a bit of framing. What exactly is the problem in the status quo? In today’s world, a petty thief can be punished either by being fined, or by being sentenced up to six months in a county jail, with probation afterwards [1]. Though other facets of punishment are available, more often than not, these offenders are sentenced to jail time, especially in the case of repeat offenders [2]. This seemingly small offence can result in half a year of jail time. Through the
course of this debate, I’ll try to tell you why this is a problem, and one that needs to be addressed.

Before presenting you with my substantives, let me first explain my stance:

(1)    I believe all minor crimes, such as petty theft, vandalism, public intoxication, and the like should only have a punishment of a warning or a fine, depending on the scale of the crime.

(2)    I believe that governments should set a ceiling on the intensity of punishment meted out to these offenders (i.e setting a maximum ceiling for the amount payable for a fine).

(3)    For the most part, I accept current legal standards of defining what a minor crime is.

(4)    Even in the case of repeat offences, I believe that the offender should not be sent to jail if his crime is minor, though I believe in increasing he scale of his punishment (i.e increasing his fine). But, in cases of three or more repeated crimes, I support sending these criminals to state-sponsored rehabilitation centres, or to state-sponsored therapy.

(5)    I support stringent checks and balances in the system to protect minorities from being exploited. These include suppressing racism in the police department by firing racist cops who try to skirt the law, and taking other necessary measures. Also, these include specially inspecting legislature targeted at minorities to make sure they are unbiased. This will be done by a department independent from the government.
 
With this out of the way, I’ll move on to my constructives.


C1: It’s morally unjust to arrest perpetrators of minor crimes

a.       Arrest is not a proportional punishment

In sometime around late 2018, in Virginia, a young man was arrested for his third petty theft, and was held without bail for stealing a Mountain Dew, a Snickers bar, and a Zebra Cake, totalling to 5$. This man died in his jail cell awaiting trial [3]. Another man, Curtis Wilkerson, for his third petty theft, was arrested for stealing a pair of plain white sport socks worth 2.50$, and ended up being fined 2,500$ and being sentenced to life in prison [3]. These examples should at least sensitize you the problem at hand. If they don’t, here’s some analysis. There are two reasons why arresting minor criminals is not a proportional punishment. Firstly, these offenders are treated like regular criminals. This means getting beaten up by guards and fellow inmates who’ve been arrested for much more violent crimes. This means struggling to survive. These people are forced to live on the edge. This should not be the situation that people who’ve shoplifted from the local departmental store should have to undergo. These people are being treated in the same way that a murderer or a rapist would be treated. This should not be how a morally and legally sound society functions. But secondly, these people are exposed to an environment which is extremely harmful to them. Both in terms of physical injury, and in terms of mental trauma, which may last for a lifetime, these small-time criminals, if incarcerated, are put in a place that gives them punishment that is grossly incompatible with the crimes that they’ve committed.

b.       Arrest denies these people a second chance in life

In Con’s world, even if people commit the most minor of crimes, even if people commit crimes with very low consequences, as long as they are incarcerated, they are viewed by people as being the scum of society. This means being denied college admission or jobs because they committed one minor crime, because they have one black mark on their record. They are systematically being denied a second chance in society. This is horrendous because these people truly deserve a second chance. They’ve done nothing so wrong as to result in them not being able to lead a normal life, or at least one that meets a basic standard of living. Con needs to tell us why committing vandalism or petty theft should result in people not being able to sustain themselves, in today’s world, with education, or with a job.
 

C2: Minor offenders are more likely to reoffend if sent to prison

a.       They are put in an environment wherein they become worse individuals

Why is this the case? Individuals who are put in prison, as I noted in my earlier contention, are in a constant struggle to survive. They are thrust into an environment filled with angry inmates and hostile guards, so they are constantly living on the edge. One of the only ways they can survive is by joining a gang, or by befriending another, often more dangerous inmate, because these are the only ways by which they won’t have to constantly watch their back, by which they’ll have protection [4]. Why is this so harmful? Joining a gang usually entails contributing to whatever criminal activity that that gang has going on in the prison. This could be smuggling, drug dealing, and the like. So, these minor criminals are forced to commit crimes that are much bigger in scale than what they did to get them into prison, and they are forced to commit these crimes on a regular basis, just so that they can stay alive. This means that they are put into the routine of committing worse crimes on a more regular basis. This ultimately transforms minor criminals to major ones.

b.       They come to think that the government has failed them  

Minor criminals who go into prisons end up thinking about the fact that the punishment they’re facing is most definitely not proportional to the act they’ve committed to get behind bars. Already, many of the people who commit minor crimes do so because they believe that the government has failed them. They steal because they have no other choice, no other way of putting food on the table. They have no way of affording basic necessities required to sustain a basic standard of life. And nowhere in this situation has the government created policies to help them, nowhere has the government taken steps to help them lead a better life. This, coupled with the fact that they are being sent to prison for a crime of such a small nature, means that these people feel that the government has left them stranded, with no other options. Thus, when they get out, the only choice they have is to go back to stealing, or worse, to end up committing the crimes that they were exposed to in prison.

c.       They are stigmatized by society

Today, we live in a society wherein people believe that prisoners are the scum of the earth. Thus, anyone stepping out of a prison is virtually denied most opportunities in life. Cross-apply my analysis in C1, subpoint b. This should make you realize another unique harm of incarcerating these people. They are isolated by society. They are left with no other path which they can take to lead a better life, or even maintain a basic standard of living. Thus, they turn to crime.

Even if you don’t buy any of the above three analytical warrants, raw data proves that recidivism rates among these minor offenders are very high. In the US, within five years of release, 82% of property offenders and 74% of public order offenders reoffended, and were arrested [5]. This is one of the biggest real-world impacts in this debate, and Con needs to respond to this if he wants to stand a chance.
 

C3: The current system is systematically biased against racial and ethnic minorities

In the US state of Minneapolis, an African-American is nine times more likely to be arrested for committing a minor crime as compared to someone belonging to the white majority [6]. Throughout the US, in fact, people belonging to minority groups are disproportionately represented in prisons [7]. Racist cops arrest people belonging to minorities on a whim, and they treat them with brutality. This is a systemic problem that countries world-over face, and it is one with alarming implications. This is a saddening reality of systematic racism present world-over, and it is a problem that needs to be addressed. Obviously, in my world, racism will still exist. But the fact of the matter is that racism will be combated. It will be challenged. My world will reduce the chances of minorities being exploited by bigoted policemen. My world will institute checks and balances in the system, as mentioned in my stance. In my world, a clear message will be sent out, one that condemns racism.
 

C4: This Abates the problem of prison overcrowding

In the US, an estimated 364,000 lower-level offenders, around 25% of the current prison population, are behind bars [8]. With these people cleared out, not only will prisons have more space to house prisoners, but they’ll have more resources to feed these prisoners. Disease outbreaks in prisons will become much less common. Crime in prisons, and gang violence will significantly reduce, simply because there are fewer people in prison. These are massive benefits that are reaped on my side of the house. The problem of overcrowding is actually one of the biggest problems plaguing the functioning of prisons, and the side that offers a solution to this problem has a significant advantage in this debate. My side brings a unique solution to this problem, and thus, has that significant advantage in this debate. Not only this, but with the money saved the housing, feeding, clothing, healthcare, amenities, and other facilities on these 364,000 people, my side can substantially improve existing governmental rehabilitation and therapeutic facilities, and even build new ones. Thus, rehabilitation can take place to the fullest extent on my side of the house. This again is a unique and significant advantage that I have over side Con.
 

For all these reasons, I’m very proud to propose.
 

Sources:

Published:
My key point of contention, is how little was directly applicable to the resolution in question (I agreed to a debate on the arrest process, not the entire justice and health care systems). In addition to the common necessity of police intervention.

I will not argue that every minor offense must lead to prison, but since minor crimes include all Class D felonies, arrest needs to be an available recourse.


Definitions:
Arresting someone is a different matter from convicting them and sending them to prison.

Pro's preferred dictionary defines arrest as:
Arrest is the apprehending or detaining of a person in order to answer for an alleged or suspected crime. The U.S. Constitution's Fourth Amendment authorizes arrests only if the police have "probable cause" to believe that a crime was committed and that the suspect did it.


Class D felonies:
Also from the same site, Class D felonies include:
I will not subject the audience to imaginings of police officers only able to give tickets for the worst of the above...
Burglary however is a clear case. Even were further criminal intent not suspected (less than Class D), when someone has broken into your home or business, it would be outright silly if the police lacked the authority to remove them; but instead handed them a ticket and left you alone with the intruder.


Rebuttals:
C1: It’s morally unjust to arrest perpetrators of minor crimes (a. Arrest is not a proportional punishment)
The only punishment of an arrest, is the act of the arrest itself.

This debate is not over long term imprisonment, nor the three strike system's effects following a repeated convictions, but just the arrest.
Further, this debate is not about our health care system, which caused the cited death.


C1: It’s morally unjust to arrest perpetrators of minor crimes (b. Arrest denies these people a second chance in life)
The act of being arrested, does not create a criminal record. Regardless, what people later think of a criminal record, is an expression of their free will, which the government can no more regulate, than they can stop all crime by asking nicely.

I have no clue where the "In Con’s world, even if people commit the most minor of crimes" stuff came from. I'll simply say it's without justification.

"education, or with a job" While this problem has been fading for those with strong ambition, there remain limited slots for any role, and no one owes convicts priority placement over better suited candidates. As for it being discrimination, that is an issue with those institutions outside the scope of the original arrest.

"Con needs to tell us why committing vandalism..." given vandalism tends to refer to intentionally causing significant damage ($500 or more) someone else's means of livelihood, or desecrating graves, the results of a conviction (again, not to be confused with arrest) are hard earned by the offender who chose to commit said actions... So in short, respect for free will.


C2: Minor offenders are more likely to reoffend if sent to prison
The continued critique of the prison system is nice, but off topic. The environment in the back of a police car, while not ideal, seems unlikely fundamentally change people into hardened gang members.

"recidivism rates among these minor offenders are very high. In the US, within five years of release, 82% of property offenders and 74% of public order offenders reoffended," The study in question does not give the data on the severity of crimes. Property Crimes for example, include ones such as arson. Assuming these 82% and 74% are exclusively the minor offenders (certainly some are), is not supported by the evidence provided.


C3: The current system is systematically biased against racial and ethnic minorities 
Good point! I will not wholly address this, but some already has been (such as the list of minor offenses which definitely demand arrest), and some more shall be addressed with the next reply...


C4: This Abates the problem of prison overcrowding 
Easy counter plan: Arrest and release without sending the majority of them to prison (some minor offenses, are far worse than others; we don't need any more Brock Turner cases). With brief arrests destigmatized, police would hopefully be more willing to arrest people of all races. This gives the majority of every benefit pro listed to his plan, plus running fingerprints and cataloging repeat offenses for data mining purposes (and catch worse criminals via fingerprints and such should pass through for minor offenses); while not harming public safety as giving a near-pass to Class D felonies would.
Round 2
Published:

Con certainly gave us an interesting first round. Unfortunately, Con provided little, if not no constructive arguments to substantiate their case. Con needs to realise that we’re debating a resolution, so the burden of proof is on both sides. I’ve mentioned this in the rules of the debate. This is absolutely necessary for Con to stand a chance in this debate. I implore Con to provide some substantive arguments in Round two. If not, I automatically win this debate. With that said, let’s move on to what Con actually did say in Round one.

To defend my case, I’ll first provide a couple of observations that will help clarify my actual rebuttal to Con’s material, and to make it easier for people to navigate through this debate.

 
Observation 1: Regarding Con’s idea of an arrest

Con seems to think that the only punishment of arrest is the physical act of arrest, and not the repercussions that arrest has on one’s life. This is an egregious notion. Con proposes that the effects of an action is the action itself, and not the consequences of that action. That’s like saying that the only harm that a rapist inflicts on their victim is the physical act of rape, rather than the years and possibly decades of physical and mental trauma that the victim will face. This is problematic because this ignores a large part of the victim’s suffering, and the perpetrator is held accountable for much less. Similarly, in the case of arrest, the idea that the physical act of arrest is the only punishment that the convict faces ignores the horrible effects that arrest has on that person’s life, and it makes that prison system unaccountable for the fact that they were, in many cases, the sole reason why that person was unable to get a job after they got out of prison. The repercussions of arrest are directly tied to the process of arrest itself. This is something Con needs to understand.

 
Observation 2: Regarding Con’s idea of what a minor crime is

Con at first told us that all class D felonies were minor crimes, then proceeded to list out some class D felonies for us. This list is ludicrous at all levels. The first crime listed is rape in the third degree. Third degree rape is listed by Washington State Legislature as a class C felony [9]. Loansharking, another crime on this list, is a class D felony at its most basic form, but the more harmful form of loansharking (i.e., loansharking where force, or the threat of force, is used to collect the property loaned) is listed as a class C felony [10]. Burglary, another crime on Con’s list, is actually a class B or C felony in most states, depending on its scale [11]. USLegal might be a good site for definitions, but Con needs to look further if they want to research actual criminal legislature.

 
Observation 3: Regarding Con’s idea of what the resolution entails

In the first line of their round one, Con told us that he would only debate the arrest process, and not the ‘entire justice and healthcare systems’. Notice here that what Con fails to realize is that a lot of aspects of the justice system and the healthcare system, or at least the parts of them that I’ve talked about in my case, is tied to the arrest process. This is something that Con needs to address. I’ve not talked about the ‘entire justice system’. I’ve only talked about a few crucial flaws in it that prevent perpetrators of minor crimes from getting redemption, and in tanking their future prospects. I’ve not talked about the ‘entire healthcare system’. I’ve only talked about the fact that disease outbreaks are very common in prison, such as that of the HIV virus, hepatitis C, tuberculosis, and the like [12][13], health conditions are systemically horrible in prisons due to things like lack of availability of condoms and medications [14], and people dying due to all these reasons [15][16]. These are the facets of my case that Con really needs to arrest, because they are the fundamental effects and consequences of the arrest process. Even though they include parts of the justice and healthcare systems, they’re also fundamental aspects of the arrest process.

 
With this hopefully clearing things up, I’ll now defend Con’s attacks to my case. 

 
Morality

a.       Proportionality

Just cross-apply my analysis under observations 1 and 3. If you buy this analysis, you’ll see that Con’s response to this argument is non-existent. Con contends that the punishment of arrest is only the act of arrest itself. If you buy that this is not true, you’ll see that Con hasn’t really responded to this argument. Essentially, this means that Con concedes this point. This means that Con accepts the fact that governments punish individuals who’ve committed minor crimes in a very unfair and unjust manner. Con concedes that these people are receiving a punishment that is far beyond the scope of what they’ve actually done. What does this mean for justice? Fundamentally, it means that the government can control and implement justice as they interpret it, even though in many cases it’s so overtly unfair. This would be a horrible society to live in.

b.       Redemption

Con’s response here is that arrest does not create a criminal record. This is factually inaccurate. A criminal record, by definition, is a record of a person’s arrests and convictions [17]. But Con also says that ‘what people think of a criminal record is an expression of their own free will, and so the government cannot regulate it’. This is an asinine argument to make. The entire reason why people discriminate against convicts is because they think all convicts are dangerous. They think anyone who has set foot in prison, regardless of the reason for their arrest or for how long they’ve been in there, is a threat to them, and cannot be trusted. This is the reason why my side benefits society so much. On my side, society doesn’t categorize people as dangerous just because they went to prison. Society doesn’t form false impressions of people (which Con wants to call free will), and will learn that minor criminals are different from the more dangerous criminals, and deserve a second chance. This is impossible in Con’s world, because society looks upon anyone who’s been to prison with ill-placed fear, and think of them as a threat. True free will only exists when people have the appropriate information required to form an opinion. Con wants to talk about free will, but actual free will only exists on my side of the house.

But Con also said that the problem of the people not being able to get a job or employment after they got out of prison was ‘fading for those with strong ambition.’ The fact of the matter is that 27% of ex-convicts are unemployed [18]. That’s around one in four people. It’s harder for ex-convicts to get a job now than people could in the Great Depression [18]. This data shows us that while some convicts may be able to get employment, it’s not at a desirable rate. In my world, employment is accelerated for people who commit minor crimes, and Con conceded that this was a good thing by not contesting that these people should get employment. But this is just employment. Regarding college application, it’s a different story. More than 60% of colleges currently consider criminal history in making a decision [19], and some explicitly reject students because of their criminal records [20]. This statistic, again is greatly diminished in my world, and minor criminals are much more likely to be able to get into college and prepare themselves for holding a job. Con again agrees that this is good in round one by not contesting the fact that these people deserve to be able to go to college.

Con’s final attack on this argument was when they said that ‘no one owes convicts priority placement over better suited candidates.’ Note that this was not my argument at all. My argument was simply that minor criminals too deserve an equal opportunity to be employed. They shouldn’t be favoured over better candidates, they should just be given a fair chance. Also, Con said that the issue of discrimination was one that was with those institutions and was outside the scope of the original arrest. I’ve already taken this down in Observation 1. I’ve told you why the consequences of arrest, like not being able to get a job, is directly tied to the process of arrest.

Lastly, Con says that vandals, because they cause damage to property, should be arrested out of respect to fee will. I agree that vandals have done something wrong, and they deserve to be punished. I just don’t agree with Con’s means of punishment, namely, arrest. Throughout my case, I’ve explained why these minor criminals should be punished, but not arrested. Con needs to respond to this analysis. It’s Con’s burden to tell us why these people should be arrested, and not just punished in a less serious manner.
 

Recidivism

Again, Con’s only response to this was that it was off topic. Cross apply my analysis under observation 3. Con fundamentally needs to respond to the crux of my argument, that the arrest process deeply harms these minor criminals, and turns them into worse people. Also, Con didn’t understand why these minor criminals actually join gangs. It’s not because of ‘the environment in the back of a police car’. It’s because, in prison, the only way they can survive, without being injured or killed, is to join a gang. I’d advise Con to reference my round one’s source [4]. If you buy my analysis under Observation 3, extend this entire argument as unrebutted. This means that all three analytical warrants that I provided stand true. This undeniably is one of the biggest impacts in this debate, because it means that minor criminals, if sent to prison, are put on a path wherein the only option for them to survive and sustain themselves and their families is to turn to more, often worse forms of crime. This harmfully impacts not only these people, but society as a whole, because this means more crimes are committed, and the crimes that are committed are more dangerous. 

 
Bias against minorities

Extend this argument as unrebutted. What does this mean? This means that Con conforms to a system that systematically oppresses minorities, whereas in my world, I take active measures to stop this discrimination. It’s quite clear whom to vote for on this argument. But Con said that they will post more responses in the upcoming rounds, so I’ll wait for these responses before talking more about the impacts of this argument.

 
Prison Overcrowding

Con proposes a counterplan (CP). They say that minor criminals can be ‘arrested and released without sending the majority of them to prison, with some minor offenders being sent to prison.’ Now that I’ve taken down three of the major crimes in Con’s list (in Observation 2), Con needs to tell us to things: (1) what exactly are the minor crimes that they would arrest people for committing, and (2) what ‘arrest and release means’, because if it simply means issue a police warning and not actually send these minor criminals to prison, then that is technically one aspect of what I’m proposing, thus, if this is what Con is suggesting, then they agree with me, and their CP is technically my plan, so this gives you another reason to affirm. Also, Con suggests that brief arrests will be destigmatized on their side, without ever explaining to us why this will happen. I’ve provided you with enough analysis to show that the simple fact that a person is arrested, regardless of the duration of arrest, means that they will be stigmatized by society in all aspects of life, including employment and college applications (see Redemption). Don’t buy Con’s assertions.

 
For all these reasons, vote Pro.

 
Sources:




Published:
Kritik:
My opponent has made it clear his primary intent was not to debate the agreed upon resolution, but instead run a kritik about systemic racism in America. This is in gross violation of his own specified rule for this debate.

 
Ad Hominem Attacks:
Even when caught for his imagined racist "Con’s world" being without justification, he has continued this line of attack against me rather than the arguments. This was done in support of his Kritik tactic, via implying that even if I was right about arrests, I should be voted against because he called me a racist.

 
Sources:
Rather than including any sources this round, pro has a link to a document he can edit at whim outside the confines of the debate. A document to which each reader must email him for permission to view. While this defends his sources from being able to be countered, it reduces many of his claims to unsupported assertions.

 
Definitions:
Pro no longer likes his own definition of minor crime, in fact he considers it "ludicrous at all levels," so asks some undefined new definition to be utilized in the middle of the debate.
While I will grant that some states indeed consider the listed ones to be differing magnitudes (in the case of third-degree rape, New York considers it even more minor at Class E), this does not negate that his own source definition (to which we both agreed to use) includes much more serious matters in with those under discussion via the resolution.

 
Decriminalization:
With con’s new opposition to any criminal record for criminal actions, he has changed his stance to outright legalize minor crimes including levels of burglary, vandalism, wanton endangerment, loansharking, credit card fraud, and rape. Making the perpetrators immune to penalty for what he calls "the years and possibly decades of physical and mental trauma that the victim will face."

Further, just as minorities make up a disproportionate part of our prison system, they also make up a disproportionate number of the victims of crimes. Meaning they would be hurt worst by legalizing all the class D felonies as pro's side of the resolution supports.
 

Class D Felonies (defense):
  • Burglary (third degree): His plan calling for police being unable to remove trespassers (even when they have clear intent to commit worse crimes but have not gotten around to it yet), stands as is. His pointing out what I already did that there are worse degrees of the crime, in no way refutes that his plan undermines public safety.
  • Loansharking: His plan calls for loansharks to be immune to arrest unless other related crimes are already proven. He has not denied this, merely pointed out there are worse crimes and how loansharks lives could be ruined if they were punished.
  • Rape (third degree): Another crime to which he views the perpetrators as the victims systemic racism if they are to be capable of being punished for their choices. It is akin to part of the Broke Turner defense, that rapists (or in this case, an attempted rapist) shouldn't suffer any consequences over "20 minutes of action" (quote is from Broke Turner's father, not to be confused with pro).
 

Q&A:
Pro has asked some key questions, to which I shall answer
(1) what exactly are the minor crimes that they would arrest people for committing
See source 1 from the debate description.

 
(2) what ‘arrest and release means’
As already stated:
Pro's preferred dictionary defines arrest as:
Arrest is the apprehending or detaining of a person in order to answer for an alleged or suspected crime. The U.S. Constitution's Fourth Amendment authorizes arrests only if the police have "probable cause" to believe that a crime was committed and that the suspect did it.
But to expand: Depending on their level of cooperation (not all trespassing begins at burglary for example, but if unwilling to leave it raises the level of the crime), read them their rights, remove them from the area, run their fingerprints, check for outstanding warrants, create a record of the complaint, and in most cases without putting a felony conviction on their record (for employers it isn't a deal-breaker, in many states they cannot ask about any non-convictions; whereas schools more and more often have policies against any automatic rejection for such), release them. This drops the whole thing down to be akin to traffic citations (citations being something pro is opposed to) something there is no evidence to suggest people are discriminated against for.

not actually send these minor criminals to prison... their CP is technically my plan
Were this true, pro would have conceded the debate by still calling for arrests. Which he has not done. As I made clear in my R1 "Arresting someone is a different matter from convicting them and sending them to prison." Which of course protects the public.
Round 3
Published:
Sources for the previous round:

For anyone who didn’t read my comment regarding the sources for my previous round, here’s the gist of it. There was a misunderstanding. I thought I had set the google doc to ‘share’, but it turns out that I hadn’t. Here’s the link. It should be open for viewing now. If not, please inform me.
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1PdkHl-t_vdwPQGMYFsv4tkUzx2sJTppxrUj-ZFXTccI/edit?usp=sharing
 
 
Overview:

There were two big problems that emerged from Con’s case in round two: (1) They still haven’t posted any constructive arguments, even though I explicitly told them to do so. I told them that the BOP was shared, so it was not enough to only respond to my arguments. Con actually had to substantiate their case, which they have failed to do thus far, and round three is a little too late to post any new arguments. (2) They failed to respond to any of the material coming out of my round two. Essentially, Con has dropped my attacks on their round one material, and completely shifts directions in round two. This is devastating to their case; and again, round three is a little too late for defending their round one material.
 
 
Format:

I’ll be following a different format than usual in this round. I’ll be looking at three key questions that this debate has come down to, and by answering them, I’ll try to prove to you why I’ve won this debate. Response to Con’s material in round two and crystallization will be included when I answer these questions.
 
 
Is it morally justified to arrest a minor criminal?

a.       What is a minor crime?

This was probably the only issue of contention that Con showed to my case throughout this entire debate. The only thing that they wanted to contest was that minor crimes constitute some crimes that are bad, so we should have arrest as an available recourse. Let’s break this down. What exactly is a minor crime? USLegal, the site that Con was so insistent on using, defines minor crimes as offences that are of a less serious nature, with the punishment for such an offence being a fine, a warning or imprisonment less than three months [1]. Other sites also define minor crimes along the same lines, with some saying that the punishment for such crimes can lead to imprisonment of up to six months [2]. But Con’s key claim was that minor crimes include all class D felonies, and their source was USLegal. But USLegal only says that minor crimes can include misdemeanour cases, class D felonies, and infraction cases of a less serious nature [1]. Nowhere does the site say that minor crimes include all class D felonies. Minor crimes only include those of a less serious nature. So even if rape in the third degree is a class E felony in New York, as Con says, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a minor crime, because it is still a crime of a very serious nature. The key takeaway here is that minor crimes are only those offences of a less serious nature, which can result in three to six months of imprisonment. They are not, as Con claims, all class D felonies. This automatically negates the more serious class D felonies in Con’s list from this debate. Don’t let Con misconstrue their sources.      

b.       Impacts

Subsection (a) should tell you that minor crimes aren’t really all that harmful. They include petty theft, vandalism, and the like, which don’t exactly have large impacts on society. So why should we punish minor criminals in the same way we punish murderers, or rapists? Con never gave us this key analysis at all throughout this debate. I, on the other hand, have given you plenty of reasons why arresting these people is unjust. I’ve told you, from round one, that arrest is by no means a proportional punishment. I gave you two analytical warrants for this, namely: (1) that these criminals are treated like regular, more dangerous criminals, and that this is bad, and (2) that these criminals are forced to undergo physical and mental trauma that is a grossly incompatible punishment for what they’ve done. Con never responded to any of this. What does this mean? Essentially, this means that Con condones a society with an inherently flawed justice system, one which is very overtly unfair to minor criminals. The impacts of this are huge. This means that Con’s world is one which is morally and legally compromised, and Con is doing nothing to stop this. This has hugely adverse impacts both for justice, and for society as a whole.
 
 
Which side is best for minor criminals?

a.       Redemption

In response to my argument on redemption for these minor criminals, Con claimed that this problem was ‘fading for those with strong ambition’. My response to this was that this issue was fading at a very slow rate, if at all (see round two, Redemption), and that my side greatly accelerates the rate at which this problem is solved. Since both Con and I agree that this problem needs to be solved, surely the side that solves this problem in the fastest and the most efficient manner wins this clash. Also, Con doesn’t even contend that I solve this problem in a faster and better manner, because they drop my response in round two. What does this mean? This simply means that both sides of the house have identified and isolated a major problem, but only on my side do you see a solution to this problem. Essentially this means that only on my side allows minor criminals to sustain themselves both in terms of employment, and in terms of education. Also, Con fails to respond to the side effects that I propose of minor criminals not being able to sustain themselves. From round one, I’ve told you that if these criminals cannot find a way to maintain their lives once they get out, they will be coerced into committing the same crimes that they committed that got them into prison, or the crimes that they were exposed to in prison, which are often much worse than the crimes that they originally committed. So far, we’ve seen no response to this in any of the previous round, and round three is too late for a new response. Con concedes this outcome, and it certainly is a devastating outcome for these criminals.

b.       Who best protects these criminals?

Again, one of the key arguments of my case, that I made in round one, was that these criminals are beaten up by guards and fellow inmates, an they’re forced to join gangs to survive. I told you of the massive crime and disease outbreaks that occur in prisons, which often result in serious injury, or even the death of these criminals. Con’s only response to this was that it wasn’t tied to the arrest process. I tore down this assertion in round two, and since then, Con has dropped this issue completely. If you buy that minor criminals should not have to undergo this treatment, or take these risks, then vote Pro for this clash. I also told you that I had an independent solution to the problem of prison overcrowding, so I not only make it better for minor criminals, I improve the prison system as a whole. Also, I explained in round one that through this, I would have enough money to facilitate state-sponsored rehabilitation and therapy, further securing the futures of these minor criminals. This should all convince you to side with Pro on this clash.  

c.       Minorities

Con never really ended up responding to my argument on minorities. Extend this argument as unrebutted. What does this mean? This means that even if Con claims to support minorities on their side, they support a system that actively oppresses members of these communities, whereas I actually work towards a more open, unbiased society. In my world, members of minority communities are protected from racist cops who arrest them just for the heck of it. I protect minority youth, and make sure their futures aren’t spent wasting away in prison for something that they didn’t do. I protect minorities while Con disregards their plight. Surely, on a moral and a legal level, I take this clash. But, in round two, Con claimed that minorities also constitute a large number of victims of crime, and I apparently legalize minor crime, so I make it worse for them. Two issues with this. (1) This statistic isn’t unique to minor crimes. Minor crimes are often victimless, so its absurd for Con to claim that minorities are most often affected by them. Minorities are disproportionately affected by crime in general, and most of this happens to be major crimes, not minor ones. (2) The idea that I legalize minor crime is ludicrous. I’ll talk more about the absurdity of this when answering the next question. 
 

Which side is best for society?

a.       Decriminalization

In round two, Con claimed that by disallowing the arrest of minor criminals, I’m ‘legalizing’ the crimes that they commit, thus decriminalizing them. This is a ridiculous claim to make. Con clearly didn’t read the first part of my round one clearly, wherein I explained my stance. I might not be in favour of arresting these minor criminals, but by no means am I letting them go scot free. I clearly explained that I’ll either fine these criminals or let them off with a warning, depending on the scale of their crime. Just because you don’t arrest someone for a crime they committed, doesn’t mean you can’t impose any other punishment on them. I’m not legalizing these crimes, or decriminalizing these people, I’m simply giving them a less strict punishment. This is just a baseless assertion for Con to make. Furthermore, as I’ve mentioned countless times in this debate, it was Con’s burden to prove that arrest is the only punishment sufficient for these criminals. Con has failed to meet their burden at all thus far, and they cannot do so in round three. So even if Con truly believed that if you don’t arrest minor criminals, you’re decriminalizing them, they had to prove it. If not, it’s just an empty claim. I’ve proved that arrest is not an appropriate punishment for these criminals, so smaller punishments, like fines or warnings, will suffice. Don’t allow Con to make this claim.

b.       Safety

In my world, society at large is safer. Why is this so? Simply because, as I’ve explained, if minor criminals are arrested, their future prospects will be tanked because they will be systematically stigmatized by society. Thus, the only option they’ll have is to turn back to crime, often worse forms of crime than they’ve originally committed. This, coupled with the simple fact that there is generally a high recidivism rate among minor criminals (see round one, C2), means that more crimes are committed in Con’s world, and these crimes are often more dangerous. So, even if Con’s biggest outcome is public safety, it’s actually better on my side. Clearly, I take this clash too.

 
To stand on the side of a better, more morally sound, and safer society, vote Pro.

 
Sources:

[1] Pro round one source 1
[2] Pro round two source 2


Published:
Kritik:
Extend point. Note that no denial of his direct intent has been offered. This reduces consideration of his case that is not strictly focused on the arrests themselves (not racism, problems in prison, etc.), to a violation of the debate rules.


Pro's changed definition of arrest:
This ties to the reasons for other replies...
To be clear, pro's change to wanting to legalize crime stems from his R2 opposing to any record of arrest when trying to defend his counter plan against the holes (mainly that an arrest doesn't guarantee exposure to any of the problems in prison, thus still arresting people but not sending them all to prison was a better option): But he insists any record of an arrest for what someone freely chose to do "means being denied college admission or jobs because they committed one minor crime, because they have one black mark on their record. They are systematically being denied a second chance in society." Thus, for any of pro's solutions to be implemented as he envisions them in R2 forward, it means not even giving small fee for any crime under consideration.
 

R3 Rebuttals:
They still haven’t posted any constructive arguments
For starters, see "the common necessity of police intervention," against noted "minor crimes" such as "rape," "burglary," and various other acts of malice to which to protect people "arrest needs to be an available recourse."

 
Con has dropped my attacks on their round one material
Most blatantly, see the heading: "Class D Felonies (defense)." In addition to little things like catching him calling his own information "ludicrous at all levels," and his attempted rebuttals changing his stance to being opposed to any record of crimes which in turn would "outright legalize minor crimes including levels of burglary, vandalism, wanton endangerment, loansharking, credit card fraud, and rape."

I could go on, but in short: by trying to say things did not happen, highlights the glaring holes I exposed in his case.

 
Is it morally justified to arrest a minor criminal? (a. What is a minor crime?)
But USLegal only says that minor crimes can include misdemeanour cases, class D felonies, 
To quote the source (direct copy/paste):
(a) The minor offenses and violations docket has jurisdiction over the following:
(1) All Class D felony cases.
Please note the words "All Class D felony cases." Why pro thinks this negates anything but his own attempt to change the resolution to exclude them, is beyond me.

Further, if sentence length were the determinant of minor criminal, all his cases of people getting disproportionately long sentences would be outside the scope of minor crime, and sexual predators like Brock Turner (based on his short sentence) would be considered a minor criminal who never should have been arrested for attempted rape.


Is it morally justified to arrest a minor criminal? (a. Impacts)
The impacts listed are by his own admission not from the arrests themselves. They were part of his Kritik, thus a violation of the debate rules to even consider.

Plus I've shown and has not been refuted, the actual arrest has only the stigma "akin to traffic citations," with the Andre Joachim Jr. example showing that arresting someone and even sending them to prison repeatedly does not prevent full rehabilitation to include masters degrees and successful careers. That not everyone chooses that lifestyle, goes back to their free will.

 
Which side is best for minor criminals? (a. Redemption)
minor criminals not being able to sustain themselves
See previous reply.


Which side is best for minor criminals? (b. Who best protects these criminals?)
I focused on those outside of prison, the protection of the general public. Different benefits.

Plus, I identified that pro's lines on this topic were done as a Kritik.


Which side is best for minor criminals? (c. Minorities)
It being the main thrust of his Kritik aside, pro claims it is unrefuted, which is false given that what I explained on the topic: Minorities being a "disproportionate number of the victims of crimes. Meaning they would be hurt worst by legalizing all the class D felonies as pro's side of the resolution supports."
 

Which side is best for society? (a. Decriminalization)
See my second paragraph this round. Pro is clearly opposed to any record of their actions no matter how habitual.

 
Which side is best for society? (b. Safety)
Pro calls for a bugler in your house not being able to be removed, nor an attempted rapist pried off their victim. I fail to see how such is a safer world.

Added:
--> @shas04
Thanks for the debate.
To be clear, I agree there are serious problems with our prison systems, in particular regards to abuse of three-strike laws.
In the case of shoplifting, just charging them for the merchandise and trespassing them, would be a more fitting solution than anything I've heard of produced by the criminal justice system for such a puny violation.
Contender
#24
Added:
--> @Ramshutu
Thanks for voting.
Contender
#23
Added:
Voting conclusion.
In the end Pro did not directly and causally link arrest to imprisonment. It is left implicit that the systemic issues with incarceration are as a product of arrest. I could have believed the link if the angle taken was related to guilty pleas and bail conditions - which I feel con could have made a good counter plan on (I would have liked con to have done this preemptively, but won’t hold it against him that he didnt - but pro doesn’t give a compelling link, so I have to reject the majority of his arguments
Benefits of arrest. Con didn’t do much at all here: but he did point out the necessity of police arresting individuals at the scene - the clear counter plan, and example plan in my view does enough to negate the majority of pros harms - whilst providing a small nominal benefit of arrest that I don’t believe was refuted.
The big thing for me is decriminalization. Pro himself argues for lack of prison sentencing and lack of arrests for minor crimes, and con clearly shows how this is tantermount to decriminalization, and emphasizes impact of victims. While pro disagree, broadly speaking his plan appeared to be to eliminate criminal records for both arrest and no prison time for crime. This is as close as you can get imo, and I have to side with con
The only point that i could have given to pro was related to racism and arrests. This is the only true harm pro states that is arrest related that maybe effected. I am tasked with weighing this against victims, and decriminalization - and so in my view the point is not strong enough to overcome the points con raises - as fundamentally in pros opening this doesn’t eliminate the issue - and cons counter offer plan sufficiently nullifies the harm.
As a result arguments to con
#22
Added:
Recidivism/overcrowding. this seems again primarily related to imprisonment - with the exception that pro argues that arrest does get included in a criminal record. I must discount all of the imprisonment specific arguments.
Counter plan: cons counter plan is arrest but no imprisonment - this removes almost all of the issues presented and, imo is not the same as no arrest or imprisonment.
Round 2; con.
Kritik: I’m not buying this at all. I don’t feel that arguing the consequences of arrest is challenging the assumptions of the debate topic.
Ad hom: I’m going to reject this too, what pro said didn’t seem outside of the ordinary
Minor offences: I missed that this was defined by pro in the beginning, through his source. I don’t find it as cut and drop as con states (the sources include “can include”, and an example that includes class D felonies), but I would prefer running with the slimmer interpretation.
Decriminalization: con points out that pros objection here appears to be angling for full decriminalizafion - of these minor crimes. Re-reading pros rebuttal, this does seem to be the primary argument pro is making in context: no prison, no arrest. Con clearly justifies through victims why this shouldn’t be accepted.
I feel this covers the aspects of c3 which con didn’t cover elsewhere.

Round 3: in my view there was not anything new in this round that I have not already mentioned.
#21
Added:
Con also points out the absurdity of the policy not being able to arrest and remove a perpetrator of a minor crime at the scene - to me this establishes a good core case for arrest.
Cons c1-2 seem to be echoing my point on arrest vs imprisonment. I will not go into details
C3: I will defer.
C4: con offers the counter plan of allowing arrest, but limiting the scope of imprisonment. This seems like a reasonable plan which does indeed seem to cover the majority of pros points with the exception of imprisonment without bail - con doesn’t make clear what’s going on here.
Round 2: pro.
Pro contends that there are more impacts from arrest other than the arrest itself. I can’t accept this without examples and context. Some generic “harm” that is unspecified is unweightable by me.
Pro contends that what constitutes minor crimes differs from that of con. Im going to see how this definition side of things plays out.
In the final observation - pro again seems to confuse arrest with imprisonment. Unless pro doesn’t provide me a knock out reason why I must accept the two as synonymous - I can’t accept this, ESPECIALLY i light of the counter plan.
Proportionality: given my response above, I can’t buy pros poaition here. He gives no real harm to weigh, and no clear link from arrest to imprisonment.
#20
Added:
Arguments:
My major issue issue with this debate, is that it appears pro is confusing arrest with imprisonment. As a result, I cannot accept any of pros arguments that directly relate to imprisonment as a punishment as opposed to the arrest as topical unless con agrees (I haven’t read this far yet!)
So pro round 1:
C1a: appears to relate to bail, rather than arrest - I will accept this only if con doesn’t challenge
C1b: appears to be relating to imprisonment as punishment - not arrest. Not topical
C2a: seems again bail related (imprisonment pending trial), I will treat this like c1a.
C2b,c: these again seem non topical and related to imprisonent
C4: this seems again relying to how crimes should be punished rather than arrest. Non topical.
C3 seems topical: that preventing anyone being arrested for minor crimes, will stop minorities being targeted by police for arrest. However, it is ripe for a counter plan here.
Con R1:
Con starts with definitions, I am going to reject his argument that class D felonies and third degree rape are “minor crimes” in the context meant by this debate. It’s too much of a semantic argument, with not enough meat - however what I will do, is I will take into account the fact that we may not all agree on what a minor crime is. I will factor this into the arguments.
#19
Added:
Yeah, I figured out what I did wrong before. Thanks though.
#18
Added:
--> @Wrick-It-Ralph
Thanks for voting.
I can't speak for Virtuoso, but I suspect the vote was just slightly below the level of detail the standard requires. For example: "Brining the justice system into the topic after the fact was pro's critical mistake." That I slapped the lily pads of that into the water, gets to the heart of the issue, but doesn't quite explain how I slapped them into the water (or for that matter how pro defended their inclusion).
Contender
#17
Added:
--> @Virtuoso
I explained my reasoning for each point of voting. Votes are necessarily opinions. This is just bad modding.
#16
Added:
--> @Wrick-It-Ralph
Vote Reported: Wrick-it-Ralph // Mod Action: Removed
Points awarded: 3 points to con for arguments
RFD: Sources were robust on both sides. All attacks made were to ideas, not people, so I call good conduct on this.
As for arguments. Pro spent most of the debate jumping off of the lily pads that Con was slapping into the water. Con stuck to the initial topic by keeping to arrests. Pro seemed to want more ground as the debate went on even though Pro's current grounding was already unjustified. Brining the justice system into the topic after the fact was pro's critical mistake. If pro had stuck to the initial topic, it would have been easy to make a practical appeal against direct arrests and Con had even left room for this during the debate. Ultimately, Con's conclusion seemed to handle the problem in the most efficient way. Con's best argument was demonstrating that their is a real element of danger in choosing not to arrest someone at the wrong time. A night in jail keeps everyone alive at the end of the day no matter how it goes down afterwards. Good debate.
Reason for mod action: The voter fails to meet the requirements set forth by the COC found here https://www.debateart.com/rules
In order to award arguments points, the voter must:
Survey the main arguments and counterarguments presented in the debate
Weigh those arguments against each other (or explain why certain arguments need not be weighed based on what transpired within the debate itself)
Explain how, through the process of weighing, they arrived at their voting decision with regard to assigning argument points
The voter fails to do this thus his vote is removed.
#15
Added:
--> @ArgentTongue
Vote reported: ArgentTongue // Mod Decision: Not Removed
Reason for mod decision: Vote is sufficient per the standards
#14
Added:
--> @ArgentTongue
Thank you for that very detailed vote.
I fully agree with you about conduct being within the tied range. Given what a jerk I was about the sources, I would not protest if anyone pinged me on that.
Contender
#13
Added:
--> @Ragnar
I apologize for taking the discussion into voting, but I just had to clear this up. I was under the assumption that the kritik you accused me of in round one ( i.e, 'the only punishment of arrest is the act of arresting a person', and 'this is not a debate about the entire justice and healthcare systems') was your main area of focus, because that as what you fell back on to respond to many of my arguments. I responded to this claim in round 2 (Observation 1). I thought the kritik you accused me of in round two fell into he same category as the previous one (regarding the features of the prison system), so I didn't feel the need to respond to it individually.
Instigator
#12
Added:
--> @shas04
I try to not discuss my debates while in voting, but in short...
1. You would call that an outright concession that it was a kritik (four separate times you claimed that of arguments if they were not responded to enough).
2. I did not accuse you of a kritik until after your R2, it was ironically your R2 response to topicality which identified K as your intent.
Contender
#11
Added:
--> @Ragnar
Just for your information, regarding your idea that I was kritiking the resolution, I responded to this the first thing in round two (see Observation 1). I didn't have enough space to address it again in the next round (due to the character limit), but I felt like my response in round 2 was sufficient.
Instigator
#10
#2
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
RfD in comments. https://www.debateart.com/debates/577?open_tab=comments&comments_page=1&comment_number=19
Apologies for the delay:
#1
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
</ Conduct \>
Both members showed an equitable amount of professionalism towards one another, preserving an aura of intellectualism and civility. No overt cases of ‘Ad Hominem’ or emotional flares were seen, yet there were a series of vague expressions made by Pro which could be parsed as personal attacks. However, I chose to observe these as a passionate overture rather than make a petty allocation of points.
</ Spelling i Grammar \>
As expected, both opponents made sublime and clear use of language and wording, avoiding any patterns of sloppiness or inattentiveness. There were some casual lapses made in this trend, yet easily passed over. I also wanted to express my admiration for not only the eloquence of the language used, but its use in a manner that did not compromise how simple and easily read it was.
</ Summation \>
The instigator created this debate with the condition that both proponents shared the burden of proof, as the topic was a resolution. This topic was resolved as ‘Perpetrators of Minor Crimes Should not be Arrested’. No further form or terms were issued. Given this, Con reached into the discussion in the most rational and literal sense. Pro opened discourse with more drawn out opening, bringing to light their core themes, those being concerns with moral justification, recurrent crime, systematic racism, overcrowded prisons i <3> stigmatization. <1> Con urgently identified a ‘Kritik’, and addressed this with a clear definition of ‘Minor Crimes’, <4> the distinguishment between arrest and incarceration, describing the distortion of a source, and clearly refuting Pro’s points. However, what argument Con did make only meagerly exercised the BOP in comparison to Pro, and Pro was quick to take account of this upon round two. Pro denies the presence of a ‘Kritik’ and continues to build upon their case, <2> but fatally contradicts himself on his accepted definition of ‘Minor Crimes’ within this argument. Pro and Con continue to contest the claims made by their counterpart, with the ‘Kritik’ i the shared definitions becoming an increasingly emergent issue until the conclusion of the discussion.
</ Naglasci \>
<1> Pro makes substantial use of an ontological ‘Kritik’ surrounding his ethical and loosely related theme of penal heath care i systematic racism. O veci predmet, nearly all of Pro’s argument stemmed from the inclusion of the ‘Entire’ judicial system, extending outside of arrest to both conviction i incarceration. This is a clear ‘Kritik’ that focuses on other societal institutions in order to validate the resolution. Veoma znacajno, this is in violation of Pro’s established rules.
<2> Pro contradicts his accepted definition of ‘Minor Crimes’, first stating that he agrees with the convention parameters, then later calling these same parameters ‘Ludicrous’ once defined bt CON.
<3> Con makes flawed implication that the stigmatization criminals face is somehow the product of law enforcement rather than the independently developed opinion of the public, and cites the damaging consequences on the ‘Victim’s’ livelihood. Na moje najbolje od poznavanje, there is no law expressly refusing former criminals employment.
<4> Con identifies and refutes a violation of the established laws, as Pro has conflated two entirely different subjects on the grounds of causation.
</ Argumenti \>
I had severe reservations concerning where Pro clearly placed the blame for the stigma surrounding criminals. Rather than placing society at fault, or even the criminals themselves for breaking the law, Pro would rather subjectively accuse our legal institutions. Not only this, but Pro places quite a bit of emphasis upon a debatable precedent that systematic racism is rampant with the modern courtroom and police corps. Pro also establishes two very extreme cases of arrest and sentencing as the norm, and builds his case respectively.
</ Sources \>
Both parties made adequate use of sources. While there were some divergences from the source material, I chose not to lean one way or the other due to the imprecise nature of both the resolution and the reasoning comprising Pro’s contention.