How would I counter the neg claim that recidivism rates are lower in juvenile courts? I have yet to find a solid turn/take-out.I would have to see specific warrants before offering specific advice, but in general, there are reasons to cast doubt on such claims. They may involve unfair comparisons or, even when they don't, sampling bias.
For instanace, it would be unfair to vompare recidivism rates for the entire adult sytem to the entire juvenile system, since the resolution only pertains to juveniles charged with violent felonies. It would definitely be unfair to compare the entire juvenile system to only those juveniles charged as adults.
It would even be unfair to compare recidivism rates for juveniles charged with "the same" crimes--because there is likely a difference in the type of juvenile offender charged as an adult, which is the reason a prosecutor has charged them that way. In fact, if the prosecutors are sucessful at determining which defendants are more "hardened," and in their view, deserving harsher punishment, we should expect a higher recidivism rate for a juvenile charged as an adult. In this case, a lower or similar rate would demonstrate that prosecutors have failed at their jobs. (It's possible that some juveniles charged as adults voluntarily acknowledged "capacity," accepting treatment as an adult.)
Without a careful, randomized study employing sophisticated statistical instruments, it would be extremely difficult to tease out any potential sampling bias, making any such statistical comparison automatically suspect.
In sum, here are critical questions to ask about these claims:
1, What groups are being compared? Are the groups roughly equivalent in number and kind?
2. Is it an apples-to-apples comparison? In other words, is the comparison fair?
3. Does the comparison account for sampling bias?
If you have a sample piece of evidence that you'd like evaluated in the light of these questions, share it in the comments.