Developmental Psycho- Neurological Research Trends and Their Importance for Reassessing Key Decision-Making Assumptions for Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults in Juvenile/Youth and Adult Criminal Justice Systems
One of the underlying foundations of Western criminal justice is the notion that human behavior is the product of rational choice. The creation of separate justice systems for juveniles and adults is based on the idea that fundamental differences in rationality exist between these two groups. Since its inception, the establishment of upper and lower boundaries demarking the juvenile justice system has been a highly contentious issue, both scientifically and politically. Critically, this debate stems from the largely arbitrary nature of the boundaries. Over the last thirty years a sufficiently large body of psychological and neurological empirical work has examined the development of decision-making and rational choice in late childhood, adolescents, and adulthood. The current article discusses the implications of this research on the establishment of upper and lower age jurisdictions for the juvenile justice system, as well as how adolescent decision-making influences other key aspects of the justice process such as competency to stand trial.
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Copyright (c) 2014 Raymond Corrado, Jeffrey Mathesius
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