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.
Copyright (c) 2014 Raymond Corrado, Jeffrey Mathesius
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work.