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The Dilemma with Juvenile Offenders

Offenders vs. Criminals

One of the large moral issue that becomes entangled with the law is where to draw the line with underage defendants. What constitutes an adult crime? What is the tipping point for certain legal proceedings? People who live with TBI's could be considered at a disadvantage when it comes to dealing with the law. The damage obtained to the brain affects one's cognition and speech centers, creating issues with the complicated legal jargon of said proceedings. Victims also have statistically lower IQ's and face more barriers to education.

The article that piqued my interest in this topic is Traumatic Brain Injury and Juvenile Offending by Huw Williams. Not only does Williams break down that statistics involving TBI's, but also proposes real, integrable solutions to better support those living with a traumatic brain injury. As he explains, "screening for TBI and problems in communication needs to be available in justice systems. Such screening should happen at least at the individual's point of entry, and perhaps multiple times, but certainly in a way that informs subsequent proceedings." (Williams, 2015).

Williams also notes the dichotomy that exists in these statistics: While those diagnosed with TBI's are more at risk for criminal behavior, one could argue that it is those very criminal behaviors that put them more at risk for a TBI. This was especially eye-opening, as it was detailed in such a way that I saw merits from both sides.

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