Teenage Brains Essay

494 Words2 Pages
When someone who commits a crime is determined to be mentally inadequate to be held accountable for the crimes they have committed, there are things that we do to charge them, but in a lesser way because of their mental capacity. Which begs the question, why are we allowing children to be sentenced to life, when their brains aren’t fully developed? When a child commits a crime we look over that, and stop seeing them as children. We shouldn’t sentence children to a life in prison when their brains are not only underdeveloped, but also missing a good portion of gray matter.
In the article “Startling Finds on Teenage Brains,” by Paul Thompson, he speaks about how adolescents lose brain tissue as they mature. Specifically gray matter, which according to Thompson, “...brain researchers believe supports all our thinking and emotions.” The matter is being purged at a rapid rate. It’s taking with it the cells that support risk-taking, impulses, and self-control. While this shouldn’t prove to be an excuse for adolescents to break the law, it should prove to be an explanation. When it comes to the mentally ill we don’t use it as an excuse but an explanation. So what is it that is preventing us from using the research on teenage brains to help us understand why teenagers are driven to do the things that they do.
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If they are going to plan out a crime, then later go on to brag about it, there is something obviously wrong with them that is more than just being a minor. Every situation and case is different, and should be treated that way. If you send a child to prison expecting them to be able to change by themselves, you would be very wrong. They are at a stage where they are the most malleable; they take so much from the influences around them. So when you put them in a place filled with criminals, they’re going to change from children to
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