I negate the resolution which states: Resolved: Rehabilitation ought to be valued above retribution in the United States criminal justice system. The value for this round will be: justice, where everyone gets what they are due. In order to provide a criterion for which to judge the value, as well as a way to achieve my value, the value- criteria shall be: retribution, where the punishment of an individual is more often than not weighted by the gravity of the crime that they committed. This is not to say that the justice system is justified in putting our criminals through excruciating torture and interrogations in order to ensure that they never commit a crime out of fear. However, this means that retribution makes more sense than rehabilitation and thus should not be valued less than rehab. Note: By negating, I can say that retribution is just as valuable as rehab, just not less valuable? Contention One: The retribution system only serves criminals what they are due in return for their actions. A: Retribution is not the same as revenge.
Background and context
The criminal justice system comprises many distinct stages, including arrest, prosecution, trial, sentencing, and punishment (quite often in the form of imprisonment). As will become clear, it is in the last two of these many stages that the debate over rehabilitation and retribution is of special significance. It is a very serious mistake to think that the retributive ideal in the criminal justice system is about vengeance, retaliation or payback. Rather, it is an extremely sophisticated idea that often forms the basis of, and arguably is even the leading indication of, a developed sentencing system. The term ‘retribution’ is therefore unfortunate because its everyday meaning connotes ‘revenge’; it is better described as ‘desert’, ‘just deserts’ or ‘proportionality’ theory. The debate between rehabilitation and ‘retribution’ involves two broad questions: ideologically, which is the more...
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