less capable

less capable

][ Streng thening our communit y through education and awareness ][

Report from the Mercyhurst College Civic Institute

Inside the Report
Adolescent Brain Development
Adolescent Brain Development
and the Criminal Justice System
• Culpability
• Competence
• Amenability

Upcoming Events
Mercyhurst College Criminal
Justice Conference and James V.
Kinnane Awards Luncheon
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Speaker: Laurence Steinberg, Ph.D.
See insert for additional information

The purpose of the
Mercyhurst Civic Institute
• Enhance and facilitate citizen
participation in decision-making.
• Provide high-quality, objective information to
assist local decision-making.
• Convene community forums that encourage
reasoned reflection and free
and open discussion of regional issues.
• Educate the Erie community and
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania about
various issues through Institute reports and
• Foster human networks that enhance
communication, link resources,
strengthen community participation
and build social capital.
• Promote research, learning, teaching
and service opportunities for the Mercyhurst

Vol.2, Issue 2

September 2010

Less Capable Brain, Less Culpable Teen?
By: Kristen Burillo

There may be perfectly good, scientific, research-based,

The research on adolescent brain development has

biological, developmental explanations for why

been utilized to inform decisions within the criminal

those teenagers you know are impulsive, emotional,

justice system. Adolescents’ developing cognitive

giving into peer pressure, not thinking about the

abilities have raised questions about their culpability,

future, unconcerned with consequences, and taking

competence, and amenability. Key court decisions

a lot of risks 1. Blame it on their brains. Research

have been informed from the research in this area. For

is increasingly showing that adolescent behaviors...

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