Rikers Island inmates practice debate skills

- How can a debate be used as a tool to help inmates rehabilitate and be more productive citizens when they reach back to the outside? An experiment happening at Rikers Island, New York City's massive jail complex in the East River is hoping to answer that.

Inside the visitors' room in one of the country's most notorious jails, inmates took the lectern for an intellectual debate. The topic: Should Confederate statues in public spaces be removed?

The program is known as the Rikers Debate Project. It seeks to promote critical thinking, self-advocacy, and—more immediately—a productive use of time behind these walls.

Fox 5 was there for the finals. Both teams were well prepared and surprisingly up to speed on the world they are currently not a part of. They weaved current events and history into a narrative.

One of the guys on the winning team made the argument that the monuments should stay because we learn the most from our darkest moments. It was kind of a cheap shot at himself but also the idea that something positive could come from being here.  

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