Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Juvenile Justice Policy and Practice: A Developmental Perspective

Our aim in this essay is to examine the behavioral and neuroscience evidence that supports developmental immaturity of youthful offenders. We summarize findings from research over the past 20 years regarding brain, cognitive, and psychosocial development in adolescence. The main conclusions support the view that adolescence is a distinct period of development and that juvenile offenders deserve differential treatment and have much to gain from a less punitive orientation than at present. This recent developmental science is used to consider three issues in juvenile justice policy: the criminal culpability of adolescents, adolescents’ competence to stand trial, and the effects of punitive sanctions on adolescents’ development and behavior (p. 580).

Categories and Services

Notice about external resources

These links are being provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) of any of the products, services or opinions of the corporation or organization or individual. NIC bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of the external site or for that of subsequent links. Contact the external site for answers to questions regarding its content.