Criminal charges should always be taken seriously regardless of the age of the person facing them. However, it is fair to say that juveniles finding themselves in this situation are particularly vulnerable. Depending on what crimes they are charged with, if found guilty they could find that their lives are dramatically impacted. Because of this it is vital that juveniles seek assistance from a lawyer in mounting a defense.
Individuals who fail to defend themselves could face incarceration. For a variety of reason this is not a place most young people want to be. In addition to setting a young person down the wrong path in life, the actual time spent in incarcerated can be difficult. This is due in part to the way others also incarcerated act—making poor decisions or problems controlling impulses. A study recently published in The Journal of Adolescent Health, focuses on what could be behind those behaviors. The study indicated that it could be the result of head trauma the young person suffered prior to incarceration.
More specifically, of the boys and girls, between the ages of 16 and 18, which entered into jails in New York City in 2012, approximately half indicated that they had suffered a traumatic brain injury. More than half of those injuries were suffered in an assault. This information was culled from questionnaires provided the 84 girls and 300 boys.
In addition to posing problems while in jail, such injuries, the symptoms of which can be long lasting, can lead to issues when the person gets out as well. This could lead to a return to the criminal justice system. Though unclear, it is possible that brain injuries could play a part in the initial incarceration as well.
Though this study was conducted in another state, juvenile justice centers in Texas are taking action regarding the matter. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services indicates that a study regarding the impact of traumatic brain injury on young offenders has commenced.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Nearly Half Of All Jailed Youths in NYC Have a Brain Injury,” Jake Pearson, April 18, 2014