December 02, 2007

Next study: "the sun is too hot to walk on"

From the AP:

Study: Immaturity May Spark Teen Crime

The teenage brain, Laurence Steinberg says, is like a car with a good accelerator but a weak brake. With powerful impulses under poor control, the likely result is a crash. And, perhaps, a crime. Steinberg, a Temple University psychology professor, helped draft an American Psychological Association brief for a 2005 case in which the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed the death penalty for crimes committed before age 18.

That ruling relies on the most recent research on the adolescent brain, which indicates the juvenile brain is still maturing in the teen years and reasoning and judgment are developing well into the early to mid 20s. It is often cited as state lawmakers consider scaling back punitive juvenile justice laws passed during the 1990s...

Because sometimes judges and lawmakers have to have things spelled out for them.

The Idaho Statesman article adds a little local content:

Prosecuting kids as adults gets another look - Drop in juvenile crime, brain research and studies of ill effects of prison on teens spark reforms in many states

In the Treasure Valley this week, the case against a 13-year-old Nampa boy was transferred to adult court, where he will face charges in an alleged sexual assault on a 5-year-old girl earlier this year. The boy's lawyer is now fighting to get the case moved back to juvenile court. Under Idaho law, any juvenile 14 or older who is charged with a violent felony such as murder, attempted murder, rape or robbery is charged as an adult. If a suspect is younger than 14, a juvenile court judge must decide whether the suspect should be charged as an adult...

Fourteen. Meanwhile in the Cowboy State:

Minor offenses routinely land Wyoming youths in adult jail

Wyoming is big on tough love. Hundreds of Wyoming juveniles each year are locked up for minor crimes like shoplifting, drinking and even running away. The main reason is that many of these youngsters are tried in adult rather than in juvenile courts...

The Campaign for Youth Justice has something to say about locking up youth in adult jails.

(homage to Bliss for the headline)