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< Back to question Should prisons be abolished? Show more Show less

Prison abolitionism is an ongoing debate globally, but in American society in particular. Prisons were first created to punish the guilty for their crimes and protect the innocent from harm. Now, some are creating rehabilitation programs to help the incarcerated have a better life after being released. Are prison systems effective, and would abolishing them be beneficial for society?

Yes, prisons should be abolished Show more Show less

We would be building a more ethical system and releasing offenders as citizens able to be positively reintegrated into society.
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Prisons do not work

Many offenders have been incarcerated multiple times, proving prisons do not work as an effective punishment or part of society.
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The Argument

Many people end up in incarceration multiple times because they repeatedly break the law once gaining back their freedom. One study found that 76% of all prisoners will return to prison within five years.[1] This is because most large prisons were designed to punish people instead of working to improve behavior. A lengthy prison sentence and chemically alter a person's mind and personality due to being mistreated for an extended amount of time. If an inmate is used to living within the prison's society, it makes it more difficult to adjust to freedom.[2] Prisons should work to develop programs that help inmates reintegrate into normal life, so there is a smaller chance they will recidivate.[3] The United States' massive incarcerated population has led to higher rates of crime, instead of lowering the number like expected. Often, it is extremely difficult for ex-convicts to find stable employment, so they again turn to crime to earn income.[4] Since prisons are full of criminals and illegal activity, it fosters violent behavior and often hardens people. Gangs control a number of prison populations, so inmates do whatever they can to survive their sentences. The high percentage of felons that are incarcerated multiple times proves that current prison systems are not effective.

Counter arguments

Even though the current prison system is not effective in lowering crime rates, criminals still need to be separated from the population to protect the safety of others. Some violent criminals will never behave in the free world, so they need to be kept away from the rest of the population. Prisons should not be completely abolished because it would result in more crime and chaos for society.


[P1] A high percentage of criminals return to crime after being released from prison. [P2] Long prison sentences change inmates' brain chemistry. [P3] It is difficult for someone to find employment after being released from prison. [P4] Prisons are a hub for illegal and violent behavior. [P5] Therefore, prisons should be reformed.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P5] Criminals need to be separated from the rest of the population.




This page was last edited on Wednesday, 20 May 2020 at 01:26 UTC


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