Hi Jim,The first and perhaps most important thing to do is to place a resolutional analysis at the top of your case, preferably after the definition of "charged," that limits the scope of the resolution to exclude punishment. (This is obviously incompatible with a case based on punishment, in which case you'll have to take the third / fourth option below.) This works well with a "due process" Aff, and takes out the recidivism argument in the second question.
We are wondering if you help us. We have recently debated this resolution in depth at the past tournament, and we came across a couple issues for both sides.
Our first problem that we had was regarding jail rape. The negative side argues that there is a much higher rate of jail rape (and staff beatings, threats by weapons, etc.) of juveniles that were transferred to the adult system than that of the juveniles placed in juvenile system. The argument with its evidentiary backing is quite straight forward, and we had a lot of trouble handling it on the affirmative side effectively. One attempt that we had was to say that since it is against the law to rape in jail, and that we enforce the law; we must evaluate the round in its general symbol and theory to society. Another was to take a similar approach, but rather saying that the affirmative cannot defend jail rape because it is inherently bad, but reforms could be made. Another line of thought was to give a way to reform the system; have separate jail cells. Those arguments, however, were not accepted by the judges. Any thoughts?
The second problem we had was about the lowered recidivism that the negative side can provide. There are many pieces of evidence that say comparatively, the juvenile system provides 30% lower recidivism than the same juveniles that are transferred to the adult system. How would you suggest the affirmative to go about effectively mitigating this point?
Another way to go is to heavily warrant your argument from principle in your case--take time to establish why we're examining principles rather than specific practices, inherent differences rather than flawed applications.
A third way is to argue that the real problem is the vulnerability of juveniles--most of them are smaller and weaker than adult offenders--so, upon entry, a height/weight-based distinction could be drawn with no regard to age. One way to establish this would be, in cross-ex, to ask the Neg to explain why juvenile offenders are more likely to be abused, beaten, raped, etc. in prison.
I think you can also argue that the flaws in the adult system, including our society's often too-casual dismissal of / joking about prison rape, are the real problem. It's not that the prisons themselves (or the punishment principles) are too harsh, but that society is too tolerant of the abuse. Reform is the solution, not arbitrary age-based distinctions between juveniles and adults.
In other words, one way to affirm the resolution is to argue that adults ought to be treated more like juveniles!
The recidivism argument is potentially taken down by the deterrence argument: we'll have fewer criminals reoffending if we have fewer criminals in the first place. It's also rendered moot by the resolutional analysis described at the top of this post. (I'm also skeptical of the argument, for reasons described here.)