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Researching the 2022-2023 LD Resolution

LD resolution for season 2022–2023: Resolved: Criminal justice ought to prioritize rehabilitation over retribution, restitution or deterrence.

As research begins in earnest for the upcoming criminal justice resolution, consider these four areas to get started.

  • Which stakeholders should the judge focus on when picking a penal principle in a criminal justice system? The interests of society, victims, and reformed convicts differ. Discerning which group matters most sits at the core of the resolution.

  • Is the American criminal justice system just? Most judges in debate rounds will be familiar with criminal justice concepts influenced by the U.S. systems and common ideas about its function. Analyzing policy statements and legislation to discover the rationale behind the U.S. systems of punishment and then analyzing the system through the ideas in the resolution will provide material for debaters to persuade their judges from their original thinking to the debater’s position.

  • To what extent can justice restore an individual? Rehabilitation and restitution both aim at restoration; one seeks restoration of the convict and his place in society, while the other seeks restoration of the victim to wholeness. These conflicting approaches create a powerful contrast warranting exploration.

  • What can we learn from international models of justice? Iceland and Singapore represent opposite poles of the rehabilitation and retributive models in the developed world. Furthermore, authoritarian regimes like the People’s Republic of China may add counterintuitive twists to concepts like rehabilitation.

Happy researching, Your Debate Committee


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