Date: August 19, 2016
Participants (from 7 countries):
USA: Rick | Argentina: Johny | Iran: Hanieh, Rose, Rojhano, Behnam | Mauritania: Boboty | Bangladesh: Mohiuddin | France: Djamila | Algeria: Mokhtaroo
Panel PRO (Team A): Hanieh, Boboty, Mohiuddin, Rose, Rojhano
Panel CON (Team B): Mokhtaroo
Audience (Team C): Djamila, Behnam
Just Listening: Johny
Team A summary:
Hanieh: Real work experience I had, because of my job, I was involved with social factors. I came up to some conclusion; there is always a hidden fact behind any case. These kinds of people never had the opportunity to choose a better life. If you are going to punish them without educating them, what’s the point to go to prison? If you isolate them from society for a while, you need to provide them education to avoid having repeated offenders. It’s an investment that would give results on the long run. The prisoners should have the opportunity to prepare for a new life after prison.
Boboty: prison is a punishment, but it also should be a time that would prepare prisoners for their future. The time in prison is limited and the government’s duty is to provide them with education. The aim of prison is not only to punish people for their wrong behaviors, it should play another role. Because if we leave them without any education, when we put them back into society, they will not change and will repeat the same mistakes and the same crimes.
Rose: I speak from a personal standpoint. Not all the prisoners are criminals; many of them committed only minor offenses. I think we have to give the opportunity of receiving education. Education changes the future of prisoners. They are humans and they deserve to have these opportunities to learn some professions and thus have a better life after they have been released. Especially young prisoners and anyone of us can go to prison and we need to consider that.
Rojhano: I strongly believe in providing educational services and opportunities for prisoners. Most of the prisoners are having less education or no education at all. People around us, our family and even the government try to provide us with good education in order to make good citizens and good people in society and reduce crimes and bad behaviors. When someone goes to prison, if they have education opportunities, they will feel more comfortable , proud of themselves and feel more useful and therefore be a more useful and good people. If I were a judge I would sentence all the criminals to having education in order to avoid repeated offenders. Education is necessary for prisoners, young or adults, it’s good for all of them.
Mohiuddin: Education has a power, it can change a man. Even prisoners can be turned into benevolent. Education doesn’t only teach academic knowledge but also, morality and personal values. This will help them to make the difference between what is good and what is wrong. They can contribute into society. As a prisoner, once they leave prison, they have experience at different levels and they can use the knowledge and the education they have received and the experience they have had from their promiscuity to other prisoners and use this experience and make the best use of it.
Team B summary:
Mokhtaroo: I disagree with the topic; prisoners should not have access to education for two reasons. First of all, they don’t deserve it and the second reason is that if the prisoners were not educated, if we educate them about technology for example, it’s giving them other weapons. Prison is a punishment, good people outside pay for education, so this is not fair to give free education to prisoners. The best way is to give prisoners hard word.
Team C summary:
Some good points were made: in B: “why should we provide free education to criminals when outside there are many good people who can’t afford it?”
In A: Education is power and people can change over time using what they have learned in prison when they go back to the society.
Mokhtaroo was outnumbered and that deserves consideration however I don’t agree with his points. Saying they don’t deserve it just for being criminals is not a powerful message nor is it a good message to send. The main point of team A was that people who go to prison are not as educated as the rest because when someone has some level of education they are more aware of their actions and consequences and they are less likely to commit crimes and therefore, we need to educate people who go to prison.
Team B brought some refreshing points whereas team A was too common. What about the required money to provide this service? There are two kinds of prisoners: the ones who will be released into the society and the ones with a life sentence. Spending money on the people who will get help from it is a good idea but what about the ones who will stay in prison? It would be a waste of money and time.
Team C votes:
- Djamila: Team A
- Behnam: Team B
It was a tie.
Richard’s take away: education costs money and it’s not for free. Somebody has got to be paid to teach. The negative side of educating inmates is a use of resources that can be used somewhere else. So when we think about this topic, we need to consider the cost, both from a resource standpoint, but also the cost to society if prisoners are released back into it without the tools to engage with and contribute to it. In order to break the cycle and downward spiral that comes with repeat offenders, we need to introduce change and hope. Though I have no data to support my next point, I would believe that the cost associated with educating a prisoner is minimal compared with the cost of having to institutionalize them for repeat offenses. Sometimes people just need some hope and another chance.
Thanks everyone for participating. Below are the links to listen to this discussion.