Sep
21
Prison Debate Team Defeats Harvard In Amazing Victory


THE HARVARD DEBATE TEAM
LOST TO A TEAM OF INMATES THAT ARE SERVING TIME FOR
MANSLAUGHTER. THIS IS AN AMAZING STORY. APPARENTLY THE
HARVARD TEAM FACED OFF WITH THESE INMATES, AND THEY ASSUMED
THAT THE INMATES WOULD NOT BE WELL PREPARED FOR THE DEBATE.
SINCE THEY UNDERESTIMATED THEM, THEY LOST BIG-TIME. AFTER AN
HOUR OF THE FAST-MOVING DEBATE, THE JUDGES DECIDED THAT THE
INMATES WON. “THE AUDIENCE BURST INTO APPLAUSE. THAT INCLUDED ABOUT
SEVENTY-FIVE OF THE PRISONERSí FELLOW STUDENTS AT THE BARD
PRISON INITIATIVE, WHICH OFFERS A RIGOROUS COLLEGE EXPERIENCE TO MEN AT EASTERN NEW YORK
CORRECTIONAL FACILITY.” THEY ARE TRYING TO REHABILITATE
THESE INDIVIDUALS SO THAT WHEN THEY ARE OUT OF PRISON THEY
DO NOT GO BACK TO PRISON. RECIDIVISM IS A VERY SERIOUS
PROBLEM IN THE UNITED STATES, MOST PRISONERS END UP
GOING BACK TO PRISON. AS A RESULT, THERE ARE SOME
INITIATIVES THAT ARE TRYING TO COMBAT THAT. “THE BYZANTINE HAD ITS FIRST
DEBATE IN THE SPRING 2014, BEATING THE U.S. MILITARY ACADEMY AT
WEST POINT, NEW YORK. PREPARING FOR THESE DEBATES HAS
ITS CHALLENGES. INMATES CANNOT USE THE
INTERNET FOR RESEARCH. THE PRISON ADMINISTRATION MUST
APPROVE REQUESTS FOR BOOKS AND ARTICLES, WHICH
CAN TAKE WEEKS.” THEY WERE AT A SIGNIFICANT
DISADVANTAGE, AND ON TOP OF THAT THEY BEAT STUDENTS THAT
ARE GOING TO HARVARD. FIRST OFF, IT WAS
SEVENTY-FIVE PRISONERS WHO WERE THERE TO WATCH, NOT SEVENTY-FIVE PERCENT. MUCH MORE IMPORTANTLY,
THE JUDGES RECOGNIZE, HEY LOOK, WE ARE IN THIS BIASED SITUATION.
EVERYBODY WANTS TO ROOT FOR THE HOME TEAM, EVERYBODY WANTS TO
CHEER, AND THEY RECOGNIZE THAT. SO THEY ARE VERY STRICT ABOUT
SCORING AT STANDARDS THAT ARE APPROVED IN THE
DEBATE SYSTEM. THE JUDGES ARE AWARE THAT YOU
WANT TO ROOT FOR THE UNDERDOGS, AND SO THEY
TOOK THAT INTO ACCOUNT. THAT IS WHY THEY LOST TO WEST
POINT IN THE REMATCH. THEY LEGITIMATELY BEAT THE
HARVARD DEBATE TEAM. THAT IS CRAZY. EVEN MORE AMAZING BY THE FACT
THAT, AS ANA TOLD YOU, THEY DON’T HAVE THE INTERNET. THAT
IS SOME OLD-SCHOOL STUFF. THAT IS WHAT I WOULD DO WHEN I WAS A
KID. YOU WOULD GO TO THE LIBRARY, USE THE CATALOG INDEXES
SYSTEM, GO TO THE SHELF, FIND THE BOOK AND READ THE BOOK.
THAT IS HOW THEY ARE PREPARING, THEY STILL BEAT THE HARVARD DEBATE TEAM. BANANAS. BUT THAT
IS NOT THE MOST INTERESTING PART OF THE STORY. TO ME, THE MOST INTERESTING PART OF THIS STORY
IS, AS A COUNTRY WE SPEND $212 BILLION TO IMPRISON 2.3 MILLION PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY. THAT IS
NOT ONE PERCENT OF THE COUNTRY, BUT IT IS GETTING THERE. THAT
IS AN UNBELIEVABLE NUMBER. WE IMPRISON MORE PEOPLE PER CAPITA
THAN ALMOST ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD. THE AVERAGE PRISONER COSTS
$29,000 A YEAR TO KEEP IN PRISON. SO WHEN YOU SAY, JUST PUT THEM
IN PRISON, WAR ON DRUGS, WHATEVER ñ DO SOME PEOPLE NEED TO BE
IMPRISONED? OF COURSE. WE WANT THE MURDERERS, RAPISTS,
THE CHILD MOLESTERS, THE ROBBERS IN PRISON. WE NEED THEM IN PRISON. THEY ARE A THREAT TO SOCIETY. BUT REMEMBER, ANY TIME THAT
YOU PUSH FOR HARDER LAWS ON EVERYTHING, ON EVERYTHING, EACH
PRISONER COSTS $29,000 OF YOUR TAXPAYERíS MONEY. OUR RECIDIVISM
RATE IS SIXTY-EIGHT PERCENT. 68 PERCENT. OKAY, NOW, THEY GET REARRESTED. OVER THOSE, SOME PORTION ARE
PROBATION, OR ACQUITTED, ETC. SO, THERE IS A FIFTY
PERCENT RETURN TO PRISON. WITHIN THREE YEARS, FIFTY
PERCENT ARE BACK IN PRISON. SOME PEOPLE THINK THERE
IS NOTHING THAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT THAT. TURNS OUT, THAT’S
NOT TRUE AT ALL. RESEARCH INDICATES THAT THESE
HIGH AND EXPENSIVE RATES OF RECIDIVISM FALL TO LESS THAN
TWO PERCENT IF PRISONS OFFER SIGNIFICANT
EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY TO INCARCERATED MEN AND WOMEN. AMONG FORMERLY INCARCERATED
BARD STUDENTS, LESS THAN TWO PERCENT HAVE RETURNED TO PRISON. THINK ABOUT THAT. FORGET
BARD FOR A SECOND, FORGET THIS PARTICULAR PROGRAM. OBVIOUSLY
IT IS WORKING, THEY BEAT THE HARVARD DEBATE TEAM, ETC. BUT
IF YOU JUST EDUCATE PRISONERS, THE RATE DROPS FROM SIXTY PERCENT TO TWO PERCENT.
THAT FREES HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE. THEY SERVE THEIR TIME, AND THEY
ARE NO LONGER CRIMINALS AFTER THAT. RECIDIVISM IS THAT THEY
NO LONGER DID ANOTHER CRIME. YOU SAVE THAT PERSON GOING BACK
TO PRISON, YOU SAVE TAXPAYERS $29,000 A YEAR FOR HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE. ARE WE
MENTAL? WHY ARE WE NOT EDUCATING THE PRISONERS? I KNOW THAT
AMERICANS ARE MORE BARBARIC THAN EUROPE, AND WE LOOK AT NORWAY,
AND I SEE HOW COMFORTABLE THEIR PRISONS ARE AND I THINK, YOU
CRAZY, SOFTIE EUROPEANS, RIGHT? THEY ARE DOING IT FOR A
REASON, SO THAT PEOPLE DON’T COME BACK AS MUCH. YOU CAN’T
SOLVE EVERYONE’S PROBLEMS, SOME PEOPLE ARE GOING TO
COMMIT CRIME ANYWAY. BUT IF WE CAN REDUCE IT FROM
SIXTY-EIGHT PERCENT TO TWENTY-TWO PERCENT, HOW CRAZY
ARE WE THAT WE DON’T TAKE THAT ACTION? YOU CAN ACTUALLY LOWER THE
RECIDIVISM RATE FURTHER, IF YOU CHANGE CERTAIN
POLICIES FOR PRISONERS AFTER THEY GET OUT OF PRISON. FOR INSTANCE, RIGHT NOW,
EMPLOYERS ASK WHETHER OR NOT SOMEBODY HAS
BEEN CONVICTED OF A FELONY. IF THEY HAVE, THEY ARE DONE,
THEY WON’T GET A JOB. I KNOW THAT PEOPLE ARE REALLY
UNEASY ABOUT HIRING SOMEONE WHO HAS A CRIMINAL RECORD. ONE OF THE REASONS PEOPLE GO
BACK TO PRISON IS THAT THEY DON’T HAVE MANY OPPORTUNITIES
AVAILABLE TO THEM AFTER THEY GET OUT. IF I AM A WARDEN OR A
GOVERNOR, IN ANY WAY RELATED TO PRISONS, AND I SEE THESE
NUMBERS, THIS IS THE BIGGEST NO-BRAINER OF ALL TIME. OF
COURSE I AM GOING TO EDUCATE THE PRISONERS, I DON’T WANT THEM TO
COMMIT MORE CRIMES AND HURT MORE OF MY CITIZENS, AND I DON’T
WANT TO PAY TAXPAYER MONEY TO IMPRISON THEM. OF COURSE YOU
SHOULD EDUCATE THEM. NOT BECAUSE YOU LIKE THEM, NOT
BECAUSE YOU WANT TO BE FRIENDLY TO THEM, BUT
BECAUSE IT WORKS. IT WORKS, BUT I DON’T THINK
THOSE NECESSARILY WORKING IN THE PRISON INDUSTRY WANT IT TO WORK. I DON’T THINK THOSE IN LAW
ENFORCEMENT NECESSARILY WANT IT TO WORK. IT DOES NOT MATTER IF YOU ARE IN A PRIVATE OR
PUBLICLY FUNDED PRISON ñ THOSE WORKING IN THE
PRISON INDUSTRY HAVE AN INCENTIVE TO KEEP LOCKING PEOPLE
UP. THEY DON’T WANT TO LOWER THE RECIDIVISM RATE, THEY WILL BE OUT OF A JOB.
THAT WILL SUCK, WON’T IT? YOU CAN’T DO THAT. WE HAVE
GOT TO BE MORE RESPONSIBLE CITIZENS. THE PEOPLE WHO ARE
RUNNING THE PRISONS ARE GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS. I KNOW
THEY WANT THEIR JOBS, THEY WANT PROFITS, THEY WANT ALL THE
GOODIES THAT COME WITH IT, YOU HAVE GOT TO END THIS NONSENSE.
YOU DON’T END THE PRISONS, YOU JUST DO IT IN A SMARTER WAY.
IF IT IS TRUE WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT BARD, AND I WOULDN’T TAKE THEIR
WORD FOR IT, I WOULD DO MANY MORE STUDIES, BUT IF IT TURNS
OUT THAT THIS LOWERS YOUR RECIDIVISM RATE, EVERY PERSON IN
THE COUNTRY SHOULD DO IT. IF IT IS TRUE, SIGN THEM UP. WHO
DOESN’T WANT A RECIDIVISM RATE OF TWO PERCENT? WHAT IS WRONG
WITH YOU? WHY DO YOU WANT TO HURT YOUR FELLOW CITIZENS THAT WAY?