The Royal Society’s report Neuroscience and the Law has important implications for young adults in the criminal justice system. It sheds further light on how young people’s brains are still developing well into their twenties, affecting reasoning, judgement and self control. Research conducted by the Transition to Adulthood has provided compelling evidence that the criminal justice system should treat those aged 18-24 in a way which takes into account their varying maturity.
A ComRes poll of 150 MPs and 2000 members of the public carried out earlier this year found that almost seven out of ten people agree that psychological and emotional maturity should be taken into account by the courts when dealing with a young adult. This rises to eight out of ten among MPs. The Sentencing Council’s guidelines also now include maturity as a mitigating factor in relation to a number of crimes.
With both scientific evidence and popular support, now is a good time for the government to adopt a more effective approach to the problem of young adults in the criminal justice system.
A Guardian ‘Response’ article by T2A Alliance member Criminal Justice Alliance is here http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/dec/20/sentencing-young-adults-maturity