Areas of Concern in Juvenile Forensic Psychology
When a crime is committed by a juvenile should they be automatically treated as an adult? This is definitely a question that arises when the crime is an aggressive one or heinous in its occurrence. This is circumstance presents forensic psychologists specializing in the area of the juvenile court system will become involved in. They share many of the same responsibilities as do their counterparts practicing within the adult legal system but when a juvenile becomes involved a different set of standards come into play. The major differences relate to the specific limitations and concerns involving youth and children also their protections within the legal systems. A juvenile is a child under the age of 18 and is not matured to the level of an adult in relation to mental, psychological or social skills (Maine Juvenile Code, 2013). There are specific standards and guidelines outlining everything from competency evaluations to housing the juvenile in the codes relating to the Juvenile Court System. Prior to the point of standing trial for a juvenile one of the first things that must be taken into consideration and decided is the competency of the individual before proceeding (Otto & Borum, 2003). The major question that must be considered is whether or not the juvenile is capable to clearly understand what the results of their actions will be. Recent studies imply that the prefrontal lobe of an individual’s brain provides important information relating to the ability of the individual to avoid inappropriate behavior. Many researchers and scientist theorize that development does not occur fully until the age of 20 (Reaves, 2001). The cognitive and emotional development of a juvenile and adult are different impacting the ability to comprehend and understand what they did and what will happen because of their actions. It is extremely important to know the level of development of the individual and this should be of the...
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