[eDebate] Prison Reform Topic

Vince heyvince
Sun Apr 6 14:47:50 CDT 2008

Prison reform was on an early slate of topics. I think that this would be a
good topic for debate. This post is meant to serve two purposes:

1)      to see how interested the community is in debating a prison topic

2)      to see if there are any willing collaborators to work on a topic
paper with me.

If you are interested in this topic, please let me know. If there is enough
interest then I will be willing to start a topic paper. It would be great if
a high enough level of interest could be parlayed into some collaborators on
this paper.

As far as the efficacy of this topic is concerned there are a number of ways
that we, as a community, can respond to the controversy of the current
prison regime.

1)      There are a number of ways that the federal government can change
its current policy to address: prison population, sentencing, public unrest,
etc. All of which would have far reaching effects that include, but are not
limited to: the ability to administer the war on terror on the domestic
front, the economy, prison culture, race politics, etc.

2)      The politics of the criminal justice system are perhaps one of the
largest things that affect politicians' political capital (I know that this
is particularly the case in California, and other states but it is also most
likely true on a national level as well). I can envision this topic as
producing politics scenarios that are more "true" than traditionally is the

3)      There is an abundance of possibility to have both topical critical
affirmatives and negative strategies that can center on race, the prison
industrial complex, the carceral system, etc.

4)      The literature on both sides of the topic approaches the "prison
crisis" from fundamentally different perspectives which lend itself to deep,
engaged, and clash-worthy case debates.

This post is only meant to start the discussion on this issue. I know that
some of you had expressed interest in this topic in private. I hope that
there is enough interest for us to move to the next steps in this process.

Vince Alvarez

heyvince at gmail.com
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