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Lottie

Should Young Offenders be Tried as Adults?

28 posts in this topic

Debate suggestion made by Becky's Mom :tu:

Should young offenders be tried as adults when they have committed Adult crimes – Yes or No ?

Looking for 2 participants.

This will be a 1v1 formal debate.

An Introduction, 5 bodily posts and a conclusion from each participant. No Flaming, bad manners or profantities will be tolerated. Please make sure you quote ALL your sources!

Please be aware that:

There is a point deduction for debaters who fail to make a post within the 7 day time frame. The deductions will be 2 points for every day the participant fails to post after the 7 days.

This is to ensure that debates continue in a timely fashion. If for any reason you cannot post within the 7 days, please ensure that you let myself or Aztec know to avoid having the points taken off your debate.

If, however the participant does not then attempt to make a post for upto 2 weeks after the 7 day rule has started an immediate disqualification will occur.

Lottie

Edited by Lottie

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I'm up for it :tu:

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Beckys Mom has left me know she wishes to debate that young offenders should be tried as adults when they have committed Adult crimes.

We are now looking for just one more member to debate that young offenders should not be tried as adults when they have committed Adult crimes .

Edited by AztecInca

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We are still looking for just one more member to debate that young offenders should not be tried as adults when they have committed Adult crimes .

:tu:

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I'll take the position that youth offenders should not be tried as adults.

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Okay Fab!

Beckys_Mom will be debating that young offenders should be tried as adults.

Glacies will be debating that young offenders should not be tried as adults.

Becky you will be first to start with an introduction.

Please remember the rules, if there are any problemss just give Aztec or myself a yell.

Oh and have fun! :tu:

Lottie

Edited by Lottie

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Becky, we are waiting for an Introduction from you :tu: .

EDIT: Beckys_Mom has informed me she is having pc probs and will hopefully make a post by tomorrow.

Edited by Lottie

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How does this all work, you all got me confused??? lol

Unique, this is now a formal debate so in future please do not post in these areas, unless you would like to partake.

To see how the debates work go to the top of the board or here:

clicky

Lottie :tu:

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Opening Statment

Should young offenders be tried as adults?

In my opinion youths aged 15, 16 & 17 all should be tried as adults.

You may think that's harsh especially to a 15 year old, a 15 year old KNOWS the difference between right & wrong, even if he/she has not been taught so by their parents general common sense would tell them that.

Too many young offenders get away with the most foulest of crimes theses days with just a slap on the wrist.

I lived beside a family that had two young teenage guys that from the age of 11 where out breaking into peoples cars and vandalizing people's property. They got the usual slap on the wrist. As time went on and they hit their teens, their crimes got worse, they carried on breaking into peoples homes, cars and joined other teenagers that attacked a number of kids half their age and set fire to the home of a local Indian family, who they claimed they should be allowed to live here so that gave them the right to commit arson to the home of the Indian family.

What happened to the teenager gang?

One of the gang members that lived in my area was sent to a young offenders home not far from where I live, for a period of 2 months, and when he got out, he stated that no holiday camp will keep me off the streets.

A lot of young offenders that are sent to a detention home all claim that it is more of a holiday camp for them and when they are released into society, they go off to commit more crimes, it's almost as if they are laughing in the face of the law.

About the two teenage guys that once lived in my street, their mom had been looking after a disabled man that lives 3 doors down from me, when their mom had finished cleaning his home, later that evening, her 2 teenage sons broke into his house, trashed it, threw his wheelchair out into the yard, and stole some of his belongings.

On the same night, they joined another 2 members of their gang, and broke into an old aged pensioners home ½ mils from where I live and held a knife to the old woman's throat, while his brother beat up her husband then took her savings and after trashing her home, they fled the scene, leaving the two pensioners distressed.

When they where finally arrested, one of the teenage boys told the police officer that once he gets out of this holiday camp (as he calls it) he will get the old man and finish him off for squealing on him!!

This is just PART of the reason as to why I think young offenders should be tried as adults.

Edited by Beckys_Mom

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Introduction:

It is my opinion that youths, ages 15-17 should not, I repeat, should not, be tried as adults within the legal justice system. The youngest of this age bracket namely the fifteen to sixteen year old offenders are still at a point in development. The youths are still being affected heavily by on rushes of hormones, as well as being bombarded by conflicts and crises arising as a result of transitions into adulthood. However, you must not misunderstand my viewpoint here. I am not excusing entirely the wrongful acts enacted by youths of that age group, though it must be taken into account as a mitigating circumstance. Furthermore, the final age bracket, namely the late sixteen to seventeen year olds are in a theoretical limbo, unable to do anything according to the law, though able to break it numerous different ways. It seems unreasonable to them, as well as myself to allow them to be scolded by their country, though not have a say in which the country is run. Thusly, this conflict of moral compass, feeling abandoned by the justice system causes a mob mentality to form. Joining together with fellow confused youths and lashing out, as well as street gangs are the most common mob mentalities expressed. So if the youth were to be tried as an adult, all the prosecutor would be doing is alleviating the symptom, when the disease itself is society failing the youth. More help is required, so as to sever the chain of events leading to the formation of mob mentality/criminal behaviour. However, again, these examples are not excuses, merely circumstances which must be taken into account. however when all circumstances have been taken into account, it seems unreasonable to continue with a trial as an adult.

Yet, all I have said are opinions, if one were to carefully examine all studies done on the ‘get tough’/’tough love’ strategies of some countries, it is easily found that trying youths as adults serves very little purpose in the means of a deterrent, as found in the study by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice, which I will go more in depth upon later. Basically, all research done so far clearly point to the fact that youths within the justice system are not all rehabilitated as society would like, instead numerous youths continue to offend after prison. The chain of hateful feelings continues to grow, leading yet again, to a feeling of abandonment by the system, which leads to more offences. While the concept of committing crimes as a plea for attention is arguable, what is undeniable is most all youth crimes, regardless of the age bracket, are done as a cry of confusion, and a way of lashing out against a system they don’t understand and feel failed them.

Edited by Glacies

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I am sorry Glacies but...... (ty for taking part btw)

a rush with hormones are hardly an excuse for setting someones car on fire and beating the living daylights out of a small child or an old age pensioner, if thats the case women could do the same regardless of their age, they can easily blame on the hormones...actually some have tried that and some where laughed out of court for doing so.

See I know what it is like to grow up as a teen, feel neglected, an wanted no one even my own family where giving me any affection or the attention I needed. I got angered by it all, felt everyone was against me...I even hung out in a gang that did like to break into houses and terrorized folks within the neighborhood and stole money from others just to buy alcohol and they loved it, it gave them a buzz and bragged how they could easily get away with it because they knew that they would get a slap on the wrist and set free again.

I felt horrible...there I was in this gang and I felt this wasn't right...there was my so called friends breaking into an old aged pensioners home, holding her down knowing fine well the old woman couldn't defend herself..and robbed her of the little pension that she recieves....I pictured her as my own grandmother and backed the hell out of it fast. When I confronted my fellow gang members asking them how would they feel if some gang where to do the same to their grandmother...5 members out of 6 said --- If some other gang members hurt their grandmother like that..they would kill the ones that did it...then when they realized that they have done something the same only on to someone elses grangmother..they tried to shrug it off and made a heap of excuses as to why they did was right...........terrorizing anyone to these people was a thrill and they had fun doing it, and some thought it may impress other gangs..it was like a competition as to who could do the most dastertly deed/crime.

Most of the time my so called gang members hurt and tortured others while still off their faces with drugs and alcohol...I was of my face too and found myself not doing anything to stop them, instead I just stood their laughing..........I woke up the following morning in shock..I was only 17 at the time and I felt awful I may not of taken part in the torturing of the two people that happened to be passing by that night...but I was just as bad for standing their watching and not doing a thing to stop it...I KNEW it was wrong..in fact I KNEW all that the gang had done was WRONG...I got out..it was hard but I did it...Later to hear abuout my fellow gang members getting put away in a youth defender home for a few months for the arson attacks on a neighbors cars while their dog was still inside...I was discusted that they only got 4 months in a yough home which later bragged it was like a holiday camp.

When A youth KNOWS he/she will get sent to what they like to call a holiday camp and most get to meet more gang members there and plan their next crime...this has NO EFFECT on them...it teaches them NOTHING..all it does is bide some time till they are out once again creating TERROR and TORTURE on to other helpless victims. When I was once part of that..I DID NOT have ANY excuse for my behavior..yea my father hurt me and I felt alone and anwanted just like a lot of teenagers but I KNEW the difference between wright and wrong.

Two members of the gang I was once a member of back in the day....each had a family member that where only a year or so older than them...sent to prison for drugs and assault with the use of knives known as GBH (very serious) the two guys that committed these horrid crimes where aged 18 & 19..they where tried as adults and sent to the big boys prison, where both of them where badly beaten up by other convicts that where biger and tougher then them, and where lucky they wernt killed...the treatment they recieved from the guards ect put the fear of God into them.

The kid brothers that where part of the gang I was in thought it was cool that their older brothers where in a real prison...but later when the two brothers where released they soon told their younger brothers it was NO holiday camp...this made some think about where they where headed and they too knocked it all on the head and left the gang. These people that left the gang, went out to find work..some found it hard at the start to find work due to the criminal records but in the end found work and managed to carrry on with their lives, they still went out drank a lot and had fun, only without harming others...to me thats progress.

When a teenager goes out of his/her way to create harm, should it be arson attacks, joy-riding, breaking an entry and even murder..they KNOW fine well its wrong, but they also know that they will get away with it, and by that I mean they know that once caught and get put into a youth home for a while, that they see it as another way to meet other gang members in around the same age as them and they see it as a holiday camp and look forward to getting out to get up to the same ole tricks again...I should know I was once one of them, only I was never thrown into a youth home, but I knew if I was to get thrown into one for a while it would be a walk in the park compared to an actual real prison...I knew there was a brave difference...regardless of my hormone rush (even though to me that has no part in my doings) I knew what we all did was bang out of order.

Three of my fellow gang members that continued their crimes..went on their last crime spree, by breaking into a neighbors car and when the neighbor went out to defend his property, they knifed him leaving him to bleed to death and laughed at him...they drove off recklessly without a care and winded up driving through a police checkpoint..knowing fine well if you drive through a police check point you will in the end get shot at.

They thought it was fun to try and run over a few cops along the way...they did and one female officer was badly injured, one of the gang members had a gun and aimed it out the car window..soon all three gang members where shot at by the police...the car crashed..2 of the gangmembers died due to the crash..and one was left with horrid injuries and lost the use of his legs...funny enough so did the female police officer...this scared the living hell out of this youth...he was 17 years old and sat in shock looking at his fellow gang members being dragged out of the car rubble and put into body bags...this was a nightmare and till this day he will never forget it...he admitted that he knew it was wrong but thought that if caught all he would get anyway was the usual slap onthe wrist and off to the holiday camp...he had no idea that it would leave such a nasty impact on him for the rest of his life.

If the 3 gang members had of been tried as adults for their last crimes before they had one final joy ride...it could have taught them a valuable lesson and...could have saved two of their lives and the famale officer along with the 3rd gang member could to this day have full use of their legs...as for the guy that was knifed for trying to stop them from taking his car...unfortunately he died on the way to hospital...he was just a young father aged 20 and died because he tried to stop these youths from taking his property...hormones have nothing to do with these acts....stupidity and cockiness without care for others does..play a huge part of it...when I say cockiness..I mean they where cocky enough to commit these crimes knowing they would get a slap on the wrist...and the majority of them had their mom's back them up..all singing to the same ole tune..my boy does no harm officer he is a good boy...and so on this adds more fuel to the fire..if you get my drift

The more a mother stands up for her kids crimes claiming he/she is innocent..the more the youth will think it's ok to carry on.

I was taught right from wrong and yet I felt it was cool to be seen in a gang that got up to no good...I rebelled a lot and it got me nowhere fast...there was no excuse for my actions other than stupidity and ignorance not my hormones.

If youths aged between 15 -17 where tried as adults and sent to an adult prison this would change a lot of them..ok not all but a lot of them...just like it did to the gang members brothers aged 18 & 19 they soon had a change of heart and got their eyes opened...today these guys have families of their own and have managed to hold down a propper job and where thankful they stopped when they did.

Sorry this is way long but I am not talking or pasting anything from a web site..on what studies show...I am posting from personal experiences and what has actually happened. People can make up excuses for teens that kill and hurt others...if these people that do such researches experienced what it was like themselves and by that I also mean being a victim and watching the young crimnals get off scot free...they would look at it differently.

The more a youth see's his mom back him up and talks to a doctor about how they feel abandoned by their family and society...that gives them the perfect oportunity to do as they please.

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Well said. Though you must watch yourself, I didn’t say hormones were excuses, merely a mitigating circumstance, that is to say an event which could lessen the severity of one’s actions.

Your memories of growing up and feeling neglected, and angry did, as we have agreed on, lead to a gang mentality, and criminal behaviour. However, as you yourself had said, you were able to see what was happening as wrong, furthermore, you were able to relate the experience from yourself, and direct it towards others, worrying about your grandmother if she were to have been put into that situation. Furthermore, you were concerned about anyones grandmother in that situation, thereby turning your reasoning outwards, and relating it to the world in general. You then related this feeling to your friends, and reached a mutual consensus of what you had done was wrong. Yet, the friends were only able to see it as wrong if it had happened to them. They were unable to be concerned about the world in general, or other’s grandmothers. This goes to prove their disassociation which occurred as a result of the aforementioned feelings of abandonment and misuse. It is this selfish inability to comprehend ones actions as wrong unless the wrong action was against them, which only goes to prove the theory of most of the young criminals being unadjusted youths, unable to relate to anything.

However, you were able to realize the selfishness of your actions, you were able to view the acts as universally wrong. And as such, you escaped that lifestyle. This is not the case with most youth offenders. While it is true, right and wrong are identifiable, it is only viewed as right or wrong, if the offender can relate it to themselves, i.e. ‘how would you feel if..’ statements. Thusly the offender doesn’t have a true grasp on what is right or not, merely what they think would be right for themselves.

On the concept however, of ‘youth offender homes’, my father worked as an instructor in such a facility, and he can testify that said facility is unable to properly give the offenders the structure that they need. Similar to a reaction to the ‘tough love’ treatment, the effects of certain detention centres create an environment without structure, without the help that a youth offender would need, and as such, the criminal behaviour is not stopped, instead, it is propagated. Therefore, more effort is required, more personal time, more time to make the offender realize that what is wrong for him/her is wrong for everyone, make them realize that they are not abandoned, and guide them.

While I do agree with certain points you have raised, I do not think the concept of ‘teaching them a lesson’ is the point of the law. The law is not solely about punishment, but about growth, restructuring and rehabilitation. Though I must agree, blind faith in the youth will only serve to spoil the youth. Respect and faith must be earned, and this is just one of the principles that a young offender must learn, something he/she cannot learn in prison.

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Its easy to argue that young offenders should not be tried as adults when you are a teenager yourself..just in the same way it is easy for me to argue likewise as I am an adult lol but it is still quite intresring ..anyway.....

What put the fear of God into me as a teenage terrorway? the very thought of being tried as an adult did, once I heard other stories from those not much older than myself thats when it hit me...I don't want to go there never :blink:

The trouble with youths these days is they get it far too handy...as I said before, they laugh at the very idea of a youth detention center. This is why I think they should get a small dose of what a real prison is like, that would put the laughing out of them.

Think about it for a min..lets say you are a teenage (ok I know you are a teenager but pretend you are a criminal) offender, you have caused all sorts of harm on to innocent victims and at one point or another you have almost took the life of another human being, and yet being the person you are, you don't give a toss for society, you think everyone hates you anyway, you have already been in and out of youth detention home, where social workers have tried everything to help council you and show you that someone actually cares. Well since you have no cares for anyone or anything that is why you have become the person you are.

To compare that with a ie- 21 year old man who has committed the same amount of horrid crimes as you have, thinks along the same lines as you, well then why should he be treated any different than you once caught by the police and taken to a court of law?

I know for a fact that many prisioner that have served their time in a real prison have been rehabilitated during their time in prison,and have been released years before their actual time is up due to good behavior and have from there chosen a better road to go down rather than the one they used to take. The same when an 18 year old guy for that matter why should he get tried as an adult when the 17yr old doesnt..yet there is only 12 odd months between them less in most cases...!

A lot of the bigger criminals have even taken to the good book and became born again christians while serving their time in prison and have turned their lives around...tell me what is so scary about that...actually it seems to do them more good and makes them not want to get thrown back into prison again...but when you compare it with a simple youth detention center..the prison seems to have a much better effect, I know this because I have met many people that have been through it, just in the same way I have met those that have laughed at the thoughts of a youth detention center.

Some older men that have served their time in prison, have also served time in a youth detention home, and have said that if they had of seen what a real prison was like when they where 16/17 yrs or so they most likely would NEVER have set foot inside a real prison to begin with

Ask yourself this...a 16yr old guy has broken into your moms house and has tried to rob her, she has tried to defend her home and he kills her in the process of it all. You see this guy in court, smirking in the court room at the idea of going into a youth home for a few years, when an 18yr old guy would be doing life for the same thing...tell me what do you think would be right for him? To do this you have to picture the idea (gee I know it sound horrible but I am just giving you an example) of your mom being brutely killed only to get robbed...I know for a fact a lot of kids would want to kill this youth for doing such a thing...but I am asking you...life in a real prision where he can get rehabilitated and serve his time or in the holiday camp they like to call a youth center, in which case he may get set free within a few years...what would you think is best?

I know the very thought of going to a real prison would make a lot of young offenders think twice!!!

Bare also in mind that at the age of 16, you are old enough to get married, raise a family, get a full time job...and old enough to know what you are doing is either right or wrong.

BM ;)

Edited by Beckys_Mom

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Well said, being on the cusp of the legal age barrier can make one plead a case for the lesser of the two sentences. However, if one has a sense of justice, regardless of age, he/she can see that punishing is not nearly as effective as mediating and moderating.

Yet, I must disagree, while you are accurate, some youths do get things too easily, and an average juvenile detention center is inadequate, I feel that a prison is far too extreme. There has to be a middle ground, a place strict enough to apply structure, yet not harsh enough as to permanently damage an already mentally ill youth.

The concept of the age barrier or legal age of criminal culpability, is a bit…confusing at first glance. It may seem odd to have a person unable to judge right/wrong, yet 24 hrs later, at their 18th birthday, they are suddenly able to. However, this is the law, and while legal restructuring can occur, and does quite often, the law is in place to protect the majority and minority alike. In this case, that minority are youth offenders who are truly ill, and unable distinguish such previously mentioned concepts of a global right/wrong. Numerous studies, such as the one documented by Linda A. Teplin, Ph.D., Northwestern University, and colleagues in the December, 2002 Archives of General Psychiatry, which states: “Among teens in juvenile detention, nearly two thirds of boys and nearly three quarters of girls have at least one psychiatric disorder” which outnumbers the estimated 15 percent of youth in the general population thought to have psychiatric illnesses. Further studies in this trial show that about half of the detained teens were abused or addicted to drugs, and more than 40 percent had disruptive behavior disorders, namely, oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder. As discussed earlier, causes for the illnesses and behavioural disorders were from the emotionally unstable state that said youths were put in.

The topic of a parent’s/loved one’s murder, is one of the best to argue in the debate over child offenders. It is one of the greatest ways to personalize the debate and determine how forcefully one feels about their standpoint. I must say I was at a crossroad here, I was unsure of how I would feel, of what I would do. All people want to say they could take the moral highground, stick to your opinion, and wish that this 16 year old would get the proper treatment, would be fixed. Right now, I find myself nearly at that point. I know I would be angry, heck, angry enough to do something drastic and criminal. But I also know what my mother would want. She had been a legal assistant, and knew cases of youth offenders, some validly ill, others not. She knew that of most youth offenders going to prison, few were rehabilitated, she believed, and as studies have come to validate, that after prison they would come out worse, not truly receiving any help. As such, she would have wanted me to find out why this youth was stealing, why he felt this way, and see if we could fix him. That is what she would want. I am not quite as noble as she is yet. She has asked me, “While the ‘scared straight’ approach is functional at some points, it must be questioned do we want a nation of young adults doing what is right because it is right, and because they have received guidance and help, or because they are afraid to do anything else?” (great debate so far BM, you’ve had me on the ropes a few times here :tu: )

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I understand what you are saying and before I go any further, I just want to say there arent too many like your mom, she seems to look for the good in people thats a great quality, your lucky to have her :)

Anyhoo...

The mental attitude of a teenager towards a youth detention home is in general a holiday camp, they don't fear it, they see it as a great escape from their school, from any other responsibilities they may have, and they know that they are not going to be there for a long period for the crime they have committed..some love to brag about it.

The very thought of going to prison scares a lot of criminals, they do not want to go there, they would do a runner before they finally get tracked down by the police. As a prison does provide rehabilitation & counseling ....June 19, 2003

Study Touts Faith-Based Prison Rehabilitation Program

by Alexandra Alter

Religion News Service

WASHINGTON -- A study of the effectiveness of a key faith-based prisoner rehabilitation program has found that graduates of the program are less likely to return to a life of crime.

The study was released Wednesday (June 18) after leaders of Prison Fellowship, the ministry founded by ex-convict and Nixon aide Chuck Colson, met with President Bush and White House officials to discuss the program's impact on ex-prisoners.

The study, conducted by Byron Johnson of the University of

Pennsylvania's Center for Research on Religion and Urban Civil Society, found that graduates of Prison Fellowship's program are less likely than non-graduates to return to a life of crime. The program provides spiritual

counseling, job training and mentoring to prisoners nearing the end of their

sentences.

I don't understand as to why you would think a prison is far too extreme? It depends on the crime committed...to me if you have committed a serious extreme crime then going to a prison from the age of 16 into either a medium security prison to serve propper time like all the other criminals to me is pretty fair...when you compare those that have committed the same extreme crimes are put into a maximum security prison.

Not all youths that committe crimes are mentally ill, I would dare say a lot of them know fine well what they are doing is wrong...trouble with them is they don't give a damn. Better still since most of the problems originate from the home, and these youths have not been brought up propperely by their parents, then their parents should be sent to prison with their teenagers, thats would also make those parents want to do whats right by their kids. I for one would teach my child respect and self discipline to guide them away from trouble knowing that if they do committe horrid crimes that I too could wind up in a prison for their behavior.

Tony Blair has brought out a new system under the name of ASBO'S, and if the youths break these ASBO'S laws their parents could wind up being thrown out into the streets and some may wind up in jail..feel free to look that up and read a lil on it...I think that is a step in the right direction, even though the people that have been the victims of these criminal youths in the past feel they should be tried as adults, and I wouldn't be a bit surprised if sooner or later it does come to that and youth homes are done away with, as records have shown that youths dont take the detention homes seriously.

When you talk about youths that do such horrid crimes having a mental illness, well then why not send them to a mental hospital in the same way they send other criminals who are much older!?!

I have seen it happen myself, I have read about cases even where youths laugh at the idea and are more than willing to go out and committe other crimes the sec they are set free from these detention homes, and a vast majority of these youths know fine well that they don't serve anywhere near the amount of time as they would if they where a tad bit older ina real prison.

Other youths that are much younger, as young as 10 & 11 years old have witnessed this and in a way it has encurraged them to get up to no good and have gotten into a lot of trouble, because to them, they think well if the bigger kids can get away with it, it must be ok to do wrong...look at the two youngsters that snatched little 2year old Jamie Bulger from a shopping mall and tortured him to death..they smiled in the court room and carried on playing with their gameboys...crimes today are being committed by youths who a lot younger...because they have seen several cases where older ones have practically gotten away with it by going to a mere detention home...thats the example detention homes and punishment towards youths has set for the much younger kids...which is probably why the wo kids tortured the lil 2year old boy to death, thinking ohh well we will go to one of those youth homes for a lil while and be out in no time, and just think we wont have to go back to that horrible school!!!!Please note I am not saying they should get thrown into a prison as young as that but if they saw that there was propper justice being done to older kids they may think twice themselves and it may change the futer of youths later on in years to come

In a prison they would be taught discipline and get the councling they need and a lot find religion and have more time to think about where their lives are headed...not like a youth home at all...nothing extreme about that.

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You’re right, I am lucky to have her, as she tells me quite often. lol.

We’ve established that youth centers are most often ill equipped to handle most any criminal youths. However, where our opinions split is the concept that fear is the best weapon to use against the criminal element within said youths. It was negative emotions which drove them to crime, and further negative emotions would only serve to corrupt them more. Fear is not the answer.

Mental illness, specifically aspects of sociopathic and psychopathic behaviour is just the kind of traits exhibited and defined by yourself. It is wrong to believe that all youth criminals are mentally ill, but certainly a good deal of them have some sort of disorder which will not allow them to rationalize what they are doing as having any real negative repercussions.

However, your suggestion of sending the youths to a psychiatric hospital is a solution which will only treat the symptoms. In an ideal society, such hospitals would be a perfect place to send the youths. In this environment, they would be able to receive the structure and guidance required to teach them and rehabilitate, however, in all reality, the hospital would most likely end up dosing the youth up, to prevent further outbursts. While medicating a youth, so as to prevent them from harming anyone does serve to stop any sort of negative emotions, you are truly accomplishing nothing, and gaining no ground in the fight against juvenile crime.

There comes a time in each argument when one must realize that there are extremes to each point. You have brought up the two youths responsible for the torture and murder of two year old Jamie Bulger. These youths serve as a great definition of a lost and mentally ill juvenile. In prison, they would have to be isolated, as a result of their age, and would only further slip into insanity. However, with a proper treatment program, a middle way, free from the extremes of seclusion, but sheltered from the environment outside. There is a significant question as to whether or not these two youths could be rehabilitated. My solution involves a life long regenerative process, analyzing the youths, finding out what would make them do that? While certainly, observing others get away with a crime is certainly a factor in the perpetration of a crime, however, that criminal mindset is needed first, and is only nurtured by such abuse of justice.

But it is important to realize that justice is not punishment. Justice is seeing all parties getting a sense of closure. It is in this manner that the uses of fear, and punishment to teach the youth criminals lessons is ineffective, because, it is assured that for each success story within prison, there are countless reoffenders, regardless of the efforts taken by the justice system. Instead a sense of closure should be given, because with the proper analysis, studying, and helping, we could ensure that feelings of acceptance are present, which would serve to eliminate the cycle of anger and fear which is only aggravated by the threat of prison.

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Going back to the start of this debate, your position is 'FOR' juvenile detention centres, think of what you have just said about what should be done and what shouldn’t be done. Tell me – does the current youth detention system provide all of these things? You know that it doesn’t, this debate is not a question of what you think SHOULD be done, but rather does the current system work?

How do you know that the fear of prison would actually make them worse and turn to crime even more? Please don’t think I am ignorant when I ask…. Where is your evidence to back up your statements that this would happen?

IE – You are a 16 year old youth offender, you have been told that if you steal a car, you will without a doubt go to prison, and you dreaded the very thought of going to a prison, can you honestly tell me that you would still go and steal that car? If you did the only thing it would show would be pure stupidity!!!(plz note this was just an example I am not saying you asre stupid)

Another lil example in some countries where it was known that if you where to be caught stealing anything, you would get your hands chopped off, now if you feared loosing your hands and this scared you, would you still go out and steal anyway….I don’t think so…in the same countries, if you where caught, raping a female have a guess what they chopped off…now is shag really worth that? Would you still have that animal lust and go and do it? That’s insane..hell nooo!!

So when you think about punishment in other countries how harsh and bizarre they are, when you compare them with your own country, prison would not seem extreme, now would it? Only someone who is really stupid and insane to fear going to a prison for their crimes, that it makes them want to committee more crimes…I fail to see how this makes any sense …sorry but this is how I see it.

When I was a teenage tearaway and did at one time get up to no good…this had nothing to do with having a mental disorder, this was just me being cockey thinking I could be the big shot and get away with everything, but when I heard about going to a prison, this did scare me and did make me think twice on where I was headed…I feared prison..so what did I do?..I bucked up my ideas and made sure I never had to face that..and I would dare say a lot of people have done the same….people don’t committee crimes just because they fear prison, that don’t make sense…what is the old criminals motto ….. If you can’t do the time…don’t do the crime!

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Well done. Though I have to stop you here. I actually went back to the very beginning of this debate, and I wondered, how could I have diverged so far from the initial debate. So I turned to the very first post. In said post, I read the initial discussion for this debate. This debate, is should young offenders be tried as adults…my position is no. while it is true that this debate doesn’t ask what I think should be done…it asks what I think shouldn’t be, and in order to emphasize my point, I give background into possible alternatives. Though, with that said, on with the debate.

You are correct, without proper background data, all I am spewing is opinion, truly poor debate etiquette. So to put my figurative money where my debate mouth is…numerous studies find that prison and its environment serves as a negative culture pool, in which the bad influences are encouraged as teens with mild offences and illnesses become influenced by the more heinous offenders. “t this time, the prison environment for young people is one of negative peer interactions with very few meaningful consequences or positive interventions. Many times boys are put in jail with marginally bad behaviour, only to be surrounded by negative peers, resulting in even worst behaviour.” As restated in the study by Patti LaBoucane-Benson, Evaluation and Communication, Native Counselling Services of Alberta.

However, the fear of prison could act as a deterrent, yet, studies by Bishop, D., Frazier, C., Lanza-Kaduce, L., and White, H. 1996. The transfer of juveniles to criminal court: Does it make a difference? Crime & Delinquency 42:171-191. state that recidivism is most frequently observed as youths are transferred to adult courts. Further studies such as: Redding, R. 1999. Examining legal issues: Juvenile offenders in criminal court and adult prison. Corrections Today. State similar messages of criminal prosecution and/or imprisonment not serving to actually deter juvenile crime; as well as criminal court adjudication generally produces higher recidivism rates for most offenders. This goes to emphasize that the criminal justice system is ill equipped to handle the youth criminal, and that the fear itself is little deterrent.

Furthermore, on the topic of the youth offender stupidly stealing a car, it is mentionable that psychologically prolonged threats and fear bring about feelings of resentment and anger. So that could mean after years of threats to do good, or else, finally the youth snaps in a psychotic outburst. (PS I don’t think you’d call me stupid…or at least I hope you wouldn’t…)

It is true, a majority of people don’t commit crimes out of fear of prison, but that fear of prison certainly is serving to sway said majority either.

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Youth mostly react by rebelling against their parents, their teachers and any other authority figure that comes their way by demanding that they should be …treated like adults…….

The same rights as adults

They cry out that it’s not fair that they don’t get the same respect as adults...so what do they do?..they rebel against it all..some want to grab attention by committing various adult crimes…so why not give them some adult rights and try them as adults and send them to adult prison.

A teenager will show disrespect and hatred towards anyone that treats them as kids/teenagers and not adults.

A teenager (approx around the age of 16/17) will demand the right to find work, get married, raise a family like an adult and are allowed to do so…so again if they commit an adult crime why not do adult time?

I will say this again and we all know it’s true that teenager especially around the ages of 16 & 17 years old will rebel against anyone that denies them rights as an adult in any way possible.

A lot of people will agree that - if there old enough to make the decision to kill there old enough to take the punishment as it comes.

Saying that teens dont understand the gravity of their crime is an insult to their kind.

We shouldn't go easy on them just because they are teens they should be treated as adults since they think thats what they are. If you tell any teenager they don't deserve the right to be treated as an adult, that teenager will argue likewise!

A few words from Paul Pfingst, the district attorney for San Diego

In most juvenile systems throughout the country, the juvenile courts lose jurisdiction of the young person at age 21. So if a 17-year-old, for example, commits murder and is convicted of that murder, he can only be sentenced to prison or to a juvenile facility until the age of 21, at which time he has to be let go. So he would only serve four years for murder whether he killed one, two, three or five people.

The same thing for a 13-year- old -- at the age of 21-- in some states at the age of 25 -- then the juvenile has to be released. Most people feel that a three-, four-, five-, or six-year sentence for murder is simply inadequate. It doesn't do enough to protect the public and it doesn't bring a sense of justice to the people who are grieving the loss of a son or a daughter or a father or a mother.

Re-Offending

I think what we have to look at is our court system is filled, day in and day out, with people who went to juvenile facilities who are not rehabilitated, came out, robbed, raped, and murdered. Rehabilitation works for some, but in many cases, the overwhelming majority of cases where rehabilitation has not worked, we have victims.

The victims are the people who have to go to the funerals, have to confront a life of misery because of the crime inflicted by them, by someone who is rotated in and out of the system many, many times. The juvenile system sometimes rehabilitates, but most often, most frequently, when people get to the stage of murder, rape, and robbery, the prospects for successful rehabilitation diminish, and that's where it kicks in the need to make sure that society is safe from people who are violent and present a high degree of risk to members of the community.

These are difficult issues. No one wants to pretend these issues are easy or that they're not complex, but at the end of the day, murder and the victimization of murder has to be treated seriously.

Further more many criminals will plead insanity whether they are a teenager or an adult, they do so to avoid prison.

If a youth is put into a youth detention mome he/she will also be surrounded by other offenders that have done the same type of crimes as them and some that have done a lot worse, they can be easily be influenced by other youth offenders to go out and re-offend more, just in the same way adults do in a prison....A youth will look at the detention home as nothing to fear other than serving a much shorter sentence just a lil time out for them to go out and re-offend once again and by going to such a home isn't much of a punishment...adults aged 18 and over see prison differently, they know they wont get out as quick and most of their freedom will be spent in a cell.

Much like what Pfingst, the district attorney for San Diego has said....

If a youth has killed someones mother, child, son, daughter or father, the victims family will not feel justice has been done if the youth got the usual slap on the wrist and sent to a Youth detention center...than they would if he/she was sent to serve adult time for the adult crime...serving adult time won't bring back victims of those that have been killed but knowing that the young offender is serving adult time will show that there is propper justice and many others that learn that these offenders are delt with propper justice and would feel much safer that youths like them will be kept off the streets for a much longer period than they would in a juvie home.

Edited by Beckys_Mom

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It is specifically the incessant demand for more responsibility which marks their juvenile nature. An adult is capable of realizing the outer functionings of the world, in as much as being able to distinguish what is a need, and what is a want, and moreover, said adults are able to realize that their needs have to, on occasion, come second. However, it is this juvenile mindset that you yourself have described, in which the youth wants things now, and isn’t able to comprehend the needs of others superimpose the needs of self. As such, most youths clearly identify themselves as incapable of grasping reality enough to function in society independently. It is this mindset which also brands them as being incapable of functioning as adults, which will only serve to add to their attitudes as their requests go denied. Thusly, as I have suggested before, proper mentoring, and moderating will allow the youth to grasp the subtleties of society, and function properly in it.

It is true, that courts are swamped with reoffenders, however a very low level of said offenders are those from a juvenile detention center. Torbet, P., Griffin, P., Hunter, H., and Ryan MacKenzie, L. 2000. Juveniles Facing Criminal Sanctions: Three States That Changed the Rules. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, a study, which goes on discussing the repercussions of the three American states which modified their criminal system to include 17 year olds responsible for criminal acts. It states that while it did serve a slight level of efficiency, overall, it was inadequate in stopping youth crime. This could be as a result of the youths exiting the prisons more injured than they had entered into it, as I had discussed earlier.

You are correct, these are serious issues, incredibly so, murder and other heinous crimes should be treated seriously. However, merely locking the individual up, and pretending that they don’t exist, will not stop the problem of youth crime. Instead each crime needs to be seriously investigated, seriously analyzed, to determine why the crime took place to begin with. Then the youth should be rehabilitated, something the current prison system is unable to do.

While I am certain that victims of youth crime would certainly feel better knowing that the youth responsible for the crime was safely locked away, wouldn’t the family feel even more secure knowing that no other people will be hurt by youth offenders? As such, instead of dealing with the symptom, attack the source itself, and prevent youth crime, instead of punishing it. And you cannot prevent the crimes if you do not first understand them, something you cannot do if the youths are imprisoned for their actions.

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I've been doing some research of my own...and found some intresting sites on - The prevention of crime..Does punishing young offenders actually work?...Well where I come from it sure doesn't but it was intresting to see how it works in another country.

Juvenile offenders, due to their youth and immaturity, pose a special challenge to the criminal justice system. In the past, many judges and social workers have argued for less stringent treatment of such offenders, with "prevention" taking precedence over detention. Thus the emphasis tends to be on so-called root causes and nonpunitive interventions. The results fail to bear out the hopes invested in such an approach. Researchers note a close connection between lack of punishment and the forming of criminal habits. They also note the effectiveness of punishment, especially for juveniles.

The Effectiveness of Punishing Juveniles...!!

The Wolfgang-Mednick research does more than point to a problem.

The big problem with our handling of criminals in America is that they're not punished," wrote Mednick. "People are usually surprised to hear that, because of all our prisons. But the fact is, by the time a guy makes his way to jail, that's very often his first punishment. And he usually has committed 15 offenses by then.

He might have been arrested 10 times. In Philadelphia, the kids committed large numbers of offenses, and serious ones, and nothing happened. They just laughed. Our laws provide severe punishments, butthey deter not the criminals but the judges. They [the judges] don't want to throw a kid who's done some little thing in jail, so they just let him go."

Charles Murray and Louis Cox studied 317 young criminals in Chicago during the mid-1970s. 37 The typical member of the sample was arrested at age 12 and then arrested another 13 times over the next three-and-a-half years before being committed to the Illinois Department of Corrections. The evaluation experiments revealed a strong "suppression effect"; that is, delinquents sentenced to jail and stronger interventions subsequently committed less crime than their counterparts who received softer, alternative treatment.

Does Early Punishment Hurt or Help? Some sociologists believe that punishment has a "labeling" effect that outweighs the unpleasantness of incarceration and that this effect increases rather than decreases future criminal activity. Supposedly a convicted person says, "Well, they've labeled me a criminal, so I might as well commit more crime." Yet little evidence supports this theory. University of Maryland researchers Douglas Smith and Patrick Gartin studied the 325 males who were born in Racine, Wis., in 1949, lived there continuously until age 25 and had at least one police contact on criminal suspicion. They found evidence much more consistent with "specific deterrence" than with labeling. "Specific deterrence" means that an initial contact with the criminal justice system caused most young people to desist from criminal acts. Smith and Gartin also found that 68 of the group, or 20 percent, had six or more arrests, an indication that the worst of the worst commit most of the crimes.

Likewise, in his study of criminal justice in England, Charles Murray found that in 1954 the system operated on the assumption that the best way to keep crime down was to intervene early and sternly. Crime was very low, and the number of youths picked up by the police went down by about half as children matured from their early to their late teens.

Today, however, a widespread assumption in England (as in the United States) is that youthful offenders need patience more than punishment. England's traditionally low crime rate is now very high, and in 1994 the number of youths picked up by the police roughly tripled from the early to the late teens!!!

Work as Rehabilitation. Voluntary self-help, in the form of work by prisoners, seems to have more of a chance of being productive. Work enables prisoners to earn wages and acquire marketable skills while learning individual responsibility and the value of productive labor. It also ensures that they are able to contribute to victim compensation and to their own and their families' support while they are in prison. A 1991 study by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons found that only 6.6 percent of federal inmates employed in prison industries violated their parole or were rearrested within a year of their release vs. 20 percent of nonemployed prisoners.

Thats just some info I picked up so far..

Thanks for reading

BM :tu:

Edited by Beckys_Mom

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NCPA Policy Backgrounder 148 august 1998

This article is truly a nice read, and goes to summarize all key points in the argument for youths being charged as adults, in an adequate manner. However, this article, much like the thinking point from which it comes, is outdated. since 1998, numerous newer studies have been done, such as "Redding, R. 1999. Examining legal issues: Juvenile offenders in criminal court and adult prison. Corrections Today" which states that juvenile imprisonment is not the be all and end all deterent that the mendick studies found it to be. My conclusion is not based soley upon discrediting a single article, but rather the argument which stemmed the article itself.

Unlike which was previously implied, numerous mitigating circumstances do exist amidst the young offenders, studies such as "Juszkiewitcz, J. 2000. Youth Crime/Adult Time: Is Justice Served? Washington, DC: Prepared by Pretrial Services Resource Center for the Building Blocks for Youth Initiative." describe that nearly 82% of young offenders sentenced in criminal court were of a visible ethnic minority. this adds upon my previously stated arguments of feelings of a persecuted nature lending themselves towards a criminal mindset. and contrary to aforementioned theories, seeing such an injustice in court may actually prompt more crime in retalliation.

The studies by murray and cox, in a manner similar to the argument itself, is outdated, data found in the 70's is hardly representable today as evidence of any trend. Similar sampling techniques enable staunch defenders of the principle of young offender being transferred to criminal court to build proper coping techniques, as in the 70's little was heard of in the manner of counseling. Now it is three decades later, and the entire justice system has changed, with the exception of this one mindset. stronger punishments may have worked then, but now, times have changed, and we need a revision. furthermore, the suggestion of work as a rehabilitation tool is an ideal response, and it is one completey missed by most readers. the process functions to rehabilitate as it gives the inmates something to do, preventing them from re entering the cycle of negative feelings, and gang influences. however, this could be as easily instituted outside of the justice system, and act as a preventative altogether, instead of a rehabilitative tool.

Finally, I conclude this debate by reiterating what I've said before, punishment will not work, where guidance should be used, and while it is true that one could rule an entire country of citizens, afraid of doing anything as a result of the deterrents in place, peace should exist because citizens are able to tell right from wrong. as such, these youths need structure, guidance, and analyzing, only available when the youth is treated as such, and not like the adult it aspires to be/thinks it is. thusly preventing further outbursts, or further harm to the youths themselves.

great debate all, thanks for letting me take part. :tu:

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Here is a lil more on the problems with rehabilitation.....

Problems with Rehabilitation. Careful studies of criminal rehabilitation continue to find little payoff. Peter Greenwood and Susan Turner of RAND, for example, studied an experimental program that delivered significantly more than the usual treatment services to juvenile delinquents. The controlled experiment showed in a one-year followup that (1) increasing supervision of offenders did not reduce recidivism and (2) there was no significant difference in the arrests or self-reported criminal activities of the experimental and the conventionally treated groups.

In Cincinnati, a well-publicized Community Corrections Partnership (CCP) program concentrated on improving the self-esteem and "sense of community" of black juvenile felons. A follow-up evaluation showed that the rearrest rate of this group was no better than that of a comparison group on regular probation.

In the case of street gang crime, Professor Malcolm Klein found that "typical liberal-based gang interventions have failed to manifest much utility. They appeal to our best instincts, but are too indirect, too narrow or else produce boomerang effects by producing increased gang cohesiveness." Professor Klein also worried that "suppression approaches can produce precisely the same effect as earlier liberal approaches - namely, increased gang cohesion."

The truth is that changing criminal behavior by means other than deterrence is always problematical - so much so, perhaps, that prison authorities in Texas and elsewhere have initiated experimental "faith-based" programs for small groups of offenders. The idea is that religious transformation will make some impact - possibly a decisive one - on criminal behavior. The programs are too recent to evaluate.

A comprehensive scientific evaluation of hundreds of previous studies and prevention programs funded by the Justice Department found that "some programs work, some don't, and some may even increase crime.

The report was prepared by the University of Maryland's Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice for the Justice Department and mandated by Congress. Among the programs that seemed to work were home visits in early infancy by nurses to reduce child abuse - a risk factor for later delinquency - and Head Start programs with home visits by teachers to impart parenting skills. Still, far too little is known and the report calls for 10 percent of all federal funding for these programs to be spent on independent evaluations of the impact of prevention programs.

Conclusion

Despite continuing calls for a "better way," what criminals need most is evidence that their crimes do not pay. As Robert Bidinotto says, neither criminals nor the rest of us "drive a car 100 miles an hour toward a brick wall, because we know what the consequences will be." Punishment works.

Among other virtues, it gives the convicted a major incentive to reform. Even career criminals often give up crime because they don't want to go back to prison.

The most successful remedy, if it were economical, would impose unpleasantness on offenders every time they harmed others; predatory action invariably would produce bad consequences.

How can criminals respect others' rights if those rights go unprotected? Criminals are rational, broadly speaking, though more impulsive, myopic and perverted in their goals than the general population. It is rare that the courts find a perpetrator "criminally insane." Strong evidence suggests that criminals respond predictably to incentives, whether it be coddling or harshness. The old prescription that punishment be swift, certain and severe is affirmed by modern social science.

When expected punishment plunged during the 1960s and 1970s, crime rose astronomically. When expected punishment began rising in the 1980s and 1990s, crime leveled off and began falling. With the well-publicized success of no-nonsense police tactics in New York City, fewer observers today doubt that the criminal justice system can have a major impact on crime.

Commonsense citizens, if not academics, will continue to support punishment as deterrence. And they will oppose the criminal justice experts who deny the individual criminal's responsibility for his actions and maintain that the criminal justice "system itself has a limited role in crime control and crime prevention."

Economist Gordon Tullock's stark conclusion in his 1974 survey remains valid today: "We have an unpleasant method - deterrence - that works, and a pleasant method - rehabilitation - that (at least so far) never has worked. Under the circumstances, we have to opt either for the deterrence method or for a higher crime rate."

So you see punishment does work...if more and more young offenders knew they would get tried as an adult and go to an adult prision they would think twice

This should apply to 16/17 year olds as for a 15yr old and under, well I do think they should be placed in a detention home untill they reached 16 then transferred to an adult prison...after all a vast number of 16 year olds do claim they should have the same rights as adults (I know I have said this before) as they can leave school, get a job, & raise a family and we all know this does happen...If they are big enough and old enough to know the difference between right & wrong..so if the commit an adult crime, they should do adult time. So again if they knew they would wind up in a prison instead of what they like to call a holiday camp this would make them think twice

I have read several articals where young offenders have not served much time for serious crimes have indeed went back out and re-offended over and over again, and the victims & the victims families don't feel that propper justice has been done...I think its unfair for those that have been terrorized by these young offenders and had their loved ones killed by them, that they have to wait a few years or so untill the young offender turnes 18...thats not right.

I can't help but think of the two teenage boys that thought it was funny to film themselves setting a homeless man on fire after beating him up, these boys served just under a year for their horrible crime :blink: and we all know there are many teens out there have done the same kind of thing and have gotten away with it...thats why the crime rate of young offenders has greatly risen and will continue to do sa in years to come, if the goverment doesn't try and put an end to it and punish them as adults and have zero tolerance..if this where to kick in soon, a vast number of folks would sleep much better at night..I know I sure would :yes:

Great debate Glacies and thanks for taking the time to read my side also...I am greatful you took part, but once I saw you yourself is still a teenager I at 1st thought --oh no he may blast at me...but you didn't you have been most gracious and agreed with a good part of my debate as I you...this has been fun so again thanks :tu:

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What a great debate. Thank you debaters!

I will now pass this over to our wonderful team of debates judges.

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Great debate both of you; I must admit I leaned more toward Beckys Mom because of the weight of personal experience in this case added strength to her arguments. Something I usually don’t do. A great job there Glacies you did an awesome defense against direct experience.

Debator 1: Beckys_Mom

Relevancy: 9

Countering: 8

Style: 8

Persuasiveness: 9

Total: 34

Debator 2: Glacies

Relevancy: 9

Countering: 7

Style: 8

Persuasiveness: 8

Total: 32

Irish :tu:

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