From: The New York Times

A California Court for Young Adults Calls on Science

The New York Times:

On a cloudy afternoon in the Bayview district, Shaquille, 21, was riding in his sister’s 1991 Acura when another car ran a stop sign, narrowly missing them.

Both cars screeched to a halt, and Shaquille and the other driver got out. “I just wanted to talk,” he recalls.

But the talk became an argument, and the argument ended when Shaquille sent the other driver to the pavement with a left hook. Later that day, he was arrested and charged with felony assault.

He already had a misdemeanor assault conviction — for a fight in a laundromat when he was 19. This time he might land in prison.

Yet psychosocial maturity — measured by impulsivity, risk perception, thrill-seeking, resistance to peer influence — did not begin until age 18, gathering momentum through the early 20s.

“It appeared that these two traits might develop on different timelines,” Dr. Steinberg said.

In 2011, the MacArthur Foundation organized a group of legal scholars and scientists, including Dr. Steinberg, to study criminal justice and young-adult brains in more detail. It was no secret that the criminal justice system’s approach to young adults was not working.

Read the whole story: The New York Times

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