generic neg cards - Adolescent Development and the...

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Adolescent Development and the Regulation of Youth Crime Elizabeth S. Scott and Laurence Steinberg Elizabeth S. Scott is the Harold R. Medina Professor of Law at Columbia Law School. Laurence Steinberg is Distinguished University Professor and Laura H. Carnell Professor of Psychology at Temple University. Because of their comparative immaturity adolescents are subject to different punishments than adults. Scott and Steingberg write: But the criminal law does not view culpability in such binary terms; the concept of mitigation plays an important role in the law’s calculation of blame and punishment and should be at the heart of youth crime policy. Mitigation applies to persons engaging in harmful conduct who are blameworthy enough to meet the minimum threshold of criminal responsibility, but who deserve less punishment than a typical offender would receive. Developmental research clarifies that adolescents, because of their immaturity, should not be deemed as culpable as adults. But they also are not innocent children whose crimes should be excused. The distinction between excuse and mitigation seems straightforward, but it is often misunderstood. In the political arena, as we have suggested, it is often assumed that unless young offenders are subject to adult punishment, they are off the hook—escaping all responsibility. Instead, under the developmental model, youths are held accountable for their crimes but presumptively are subject to more lenient punishment than adults. A justice system grounded in mitigation corresponds to the developmental reality of adolescence and is compatible with the law’s commitment to fair punishment. Adolescents make poor decisions out of a lack of foresight and how subject they are to peer pressure.
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This note was uploaded on 09/21/2011 for the course ECONOMICS 302 taught by Professor Wayne during the Spring '11 term at Wayne State University.

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generic neg cards - Adolescent Development and the...

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