Teenage Brain Development Not Considered in Court

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Teenage Brain Development Not Considered in Court

Teenagers accused of violent crimes should not be tried as adults in a court of the law. Teenagers brains are not fully developed, from the ages 13-18 a projected number of, “one percent of gray matter is lost every year in teenagers,” and these are the teens being tried as adults in court (Spinks). A growth of gray matter is an important development stage in teens. The gray matter grows mostly when the brain is stimulated through accelerated learning, social interactions and in athletics. In a teenagers brain, the stimulation occurs in the prefrontal cortex, which is located behind the forehead. If teenagers are not given the opportunity to plead their case in court, it can lead to other developmental issues. These issues can stunt other brain growths in teenagers. Thus, the growth of the frontal cortex is a study in teenage brain development. The frontal cortex becomes enhanced during young adult years, which can conclude to an undeveloped brain in teens. The adult punishments brought upon teenagers is discriminatory because of the slower brain development in teenagers. Many neuroscientists have concluded that, teenagers have a, “very immature brain structure” (Spinks). Adults have mature frontal lobes, as opposed to teenagers with non-developed and immature frontal lobes. Although the brain maturity in teens is an issue, adults continue to be biased regarding teenage crimes. Adults must consider brain development in teenagers when any teen is being accused of a crime.

Spinks, Sarah. "Adolescent Brains Are Works in Progress." PBS. PBS, 9 Mar. 2000. Web. 20 Oct. 2012.

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