You Don't Need to Be A Rocket Scientist to Keep A Child Out of The Juvenile Justice System
Date:  01-14-2015

But, having some knowledge of neuroscience can help save young lives from being ruined
A child acts up in a classroom. In some cases that child can end up suspended from school or even in court. Likewise, a child who pushed another child as a way of displaying her anger can find herself in big trouble, especially if this how she usually communicates her anger.

Too often young people who are not quiet, complacent, still, and good communicators are seen as “problem children” who could use a good, swift kick from the juvenile justice system. Fortunately the juvenile justice system is in the process of evolving, and recognition that a “problem child” may be neurologically impaired, rather than a mere juvenile delinquent, is starting to catch on.

Reentry Central would like to credit The Real Cost of Prisons Project for bringing this important article by Nathan Hughes to our attention.

In Neglecting Neuroscience Has Criminal Consequences for Youth Hughes informs us:

  • Incarcerated young people have high rates of neurodevelopmental disorders. A recent international review of research found estimates of the rate of learning disability among young people in custody range from 23% to 32%, compared to 2-4% among the general population.

  • Similarly, 60-90% of young people in custody have been assessed as having a communication disorder, compared to 5-7% of all young people.

  • The same patterns exist for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism. What’s more, these are likely to be underestimates of levels of need. Many young people in custody are affected by particular symptoms or sub-clinical levels of impairment.

    Read the full article as it appeared in The Conversationon December 23, 2014 here.