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Critical Reasoning: Conclusion Weakening Questions

As the population increases, so does the number of criminals, and with them, the need for prisons. Because of this, the government allows private companies to offer prison services to deal with the growing criminal population. It can be said, therefore, that private prisons have a positive influence on society.

Which of the following, if true, undermines the author's conclusion?

Incorrect.

[[snippet]]

This answer choice neither weakens nor strengthens the conclusion because this it is a general statement that includes both kinds of prisons (government and private) - it cannot help us undermine the claim that private prisons are good for society. It can even be claimed that this answer choice promotes allowing privatized prisons as the high costs will be paid for by entrepreneurs and not the tax-payer.

Incorrect.

[[snippet]]

This answer choice neither weakens nor strengthens the conclusion as it does nothing to help us undermine the claim that privatized prisons are good for society. Alternate means of preventing crime are irrelevant to the function of prisons, which deal with those who have already committed a crime.

Incorrect.

[[snippet]]

This answer choice neither weakens nor strengthens the conclusion, as it does not help us determine whether private prisons are indeed good for society. We don't know the standards of government prisons, so we cannot infer anything about privatized ones.

Superb work!

[[snippet]]

This answer choice weakens the conclusion by showing that privatized prisons may have a negative influence on society. If privatized prisons mean someone is getting paid for every prisoner, this could lead to people having an interest to promote a stricter judicial system (one which sends more people to jail). This could lead to distorted justice system - clearly a negative influence.

Private prisons are monitored so that the living conditions and rules are matched to those provided by government prisons.
Linking criminal punishment to profit creates an incentive for incarceration which can distort the justice system.
Crime can be prevented if the educational system and social services are improved.
Voluntary community service performed by members of the public can greatly influence the social standard of an area.
Prisons are extremely expensive to build, and even more so to run.