Sentencing Ruling Reflects Rethinking on Juvenile Justice

The New York Times:

On one hand, scientists and judicial experts say, knowing that someone has committed a brutal crime as a youngster says little about his penchant as an adult. As a group of former juvenile court judges told the Supreme Court in an amicus brief in Monday’s case, “The criminal justice system cannot predict what kind of person a 15-year-old juvenile offender will be when he is 35 or 55 or 75.”

On the other hand, that makes it no easier to sentence such an offender. Laurence Steinberg, a professor of psychology at Temple University in Philadelphia, said about 10 percent of young violent criminals become adult offenders. But no one knows which ones.

“We tracked about 1,300 young convicted felons, the majority of them violent, over seven years,” Dr. Steinberg said. “We interviewed each kid for hours so we knew more about them than any court will ever hope to know, and we saw them every six months. We were unable to predict which ones would be in the 10 percent.”

Read the whole story: The New York Times

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