Juvenile Justice Reform

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A Dilemma of Cognitive Dimensions – Why do Juveniles Commit Crimes and What Do We Do With Them When They Do? One Argument in Support of the Juvenile Justice System.:

A Dilemma of Cognitive Dimensions – Why do Juveniles Commit Crimes and What Do We Do With Them When They Do? One Argument in Support of the Juvenile Justice System.

The Juvenile Court System’s Transformation:

The Juvenile Court System’s Transformation Origins in progressive reforms. A separate system with benevolent discretion. Parens Patriae – the “kind and just” parent stepping in where the natural parents had failed

The Juvenile Court System’s Transformation:

The Juvenile Court System’s Transformation Development of procedural protections: Kent v. United States Transfer hearings In re Gault Notice Confrontation Self-incrimination Counsel In re Winship Beyond a reasonable doubt

The Juvenile Court System’s Transformation:

The Juvenile Court System’s Transformation The results Adversarial system Change of focus – less on the juvenile, more on the crime Change of direction – less rehabilitative, more punitive

Juvenile Crime Trends Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP):

Juvenile Crime Trends Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP)

Juvenile Crime Trends OJJDP:

Juvenile Crime Trends OJJDP

Juvenile Crime Trends OJJDP:

Juvenile Crime Trends OJJDP

Juvenile Crime Trends OJJDP:

Juvenile Crime Trends OJJDP

Juvenile Crime Trends OJJDP:

Juvenile Crime Trends OJJDP

1848 Phineas Gage:

1848 Phineas Gage

The Brain:

The Brain “Over the past 25 years, neuroscientists have discovered a great deal about the architecture and function of the brain.” Through the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) researchers have been able to watch the brain function by watching different areas “light up” when the subject is performing different tasks. This has allowed researchers to study growth, change, and functioning within the living brain and has revolutionized our understanding of how the brain works at different stages of life. Sarah Spinks, Adolescent Brains are Works in Progress: Here’s Why , Frontline (Mar. 9, 2000), http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/teenbrain/work/adolescent.html .

Neurons::

Neurons: A cell that is specialized to conduct nerve impulses. http://www.lexic.us/

Axon::

Axon : Long nerve fiber that conducts away from the cell body of the neuron. Out going impulses. http://www.lexic.us/

Dendrite::

Dendrite: A long, branching outgrowth or extension from a neuron, that carries electrical signals from synapses to the cell body, unlike an axon that carries electrical signals away from the cell body. http://www.lexic.us/

Making connections:

Making connections

Brain Development: An analogy:

Brain Development: An analogy Imagine this land before the water carved it away…how did the water chose it’s path? Each time the water ran over the ground, it would naturally fall into the channels created by the last pass. These channels grow deeper with every pass; the water carving through the land. This is similar to how connections are formed in the brain. Each time a connection is made, that connection grows stronger. The alternate paths get harder to access while the paths that are used become more solid.

The Frontal Cortex:

The Frontal Cortex Called the ‘seat of the sober second thought’, the frontal lobe lies directly behind the forehead and is responsible for executive functions like: Anticipating long term consequences, Impulse control Emotional control, Planning, and Reasoning…

Puberty:

Puberty Just prior to puberty the body begins to change, there are physical changes and changes in the brain. There is a growth spurt in the frontal lobe resulting in a 20% increase in gray matter by age 13.

Pruning:

Pruning After this growth spurt, the brain begins pruning synapses. The brain is a use it or lose it organism. The cells that get used the most become stronger, the ones that aren’t used atrophy until they die and are sloughed off…

Myelinization:

Myelinization Myelinization is the process of insulating the axons that are used the most. This makes them drastically more efficient, but less plastic.

Based on Their Level of Development:

Based on Their Level of Development Adolescents are more likely to: act on impulse misread or misinterpret social cues and emotions get into accidents of all kinds get involved in fights engage in dangerous or risky behavior Adolescents are less likely to: think before they act pause to consider the potential consequences of their actions modify their dangerous or inappropriate behaviors

Use It or Lose It:

Use It or Lose It Dr. Jay Giedd hypothesizes that the growth in gray matter followed by the pruning of connections is a particularly important stage of brain development in which what teens do or do not do can affect them for the rest of their lives. “If a teen is doing music or sports or academics, those are the cells and connections that will be hardwired. If they're lying on the couch or playing video games or MTV, those are the cells and connections that are going to survive."

Based on what we know…:

Based on what we know… Adolescents need An external super-ego (AKA parents) Opportunities to make good choices and decisions (to make good neural connections) Venues where they can undertake risk, learn about themselves, form their identities, and ‘feel the rush’ (safely) To not spend any more time than necessary incarcerated Time to grow up

Implications?:

Implications? “These brain differences don’t mean that young people can’t make good decisions or tell the difference between right and wrong. It also doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be held responsible for their actions. But an awareness of these differences can help parents, teachers, advocates, and policy makers understand, anticipate, and manage the behavior of adolescents.” – American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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