Monday, October 27, 2014

PF December 2014 - Potential Topics

The National Speech and Debate Association has opened your chance to vote for the December PF Debate topic.

December 2014 PF Ballot - Topic Area: Criminal Justice

Resolved: The United States Department of Defense should discontinue the transfer of surplus military equipment to civilian police forces.

Resolved: For-profit prisons in the United States should be banned.

In my humble opinion, the first option is interesting but very fresh. This usually means there will be very little literature from which to draw meaningful evidence; Pro or Con. We have seen the use of military-grade equipment recently by the Ferguson, Missouri police force for crowd control and "show of force" so the topic is about as "fresh" as they come.

The second, choice risks bogging down in conflicting cost-benefit analyses but there is a much longer history to prison privatization which can allow a richer exploration of Pro and Con issues with empirical evidence which looks at a broad range of advantages and disadvantages. 

Both resolutions are U.S. specific but there is no reason why we cannot look to international examples as models for the U.S. regardless of which resolution is chosen.


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