Juvenile Justice Scholar Discusses Developmental Factors Of Young Offenders

May 24, 2018

A Loyola University psychology professor who’s worked with juvenile offenders is in Eugene today. As KLCC’s Brian Bull reports, James Garbarino argues there needs to be more leniency in how the justice system handles youths.

Credit MusicNote~@Flickr

Garbarino says the brain isn’t fully developed until the mid-20s, which affects ability to reason, empathize, and assess risks and outcomes. He says recent rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court have taken that into account, and those could eventually reduce the sentence for Kip Kinkel…who’s serving 112 years for a school shooting 20 years ago.

Psychologist and author James Garbarino, from Loyola University.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

“Well, certainly my hope for Kip and others around the country is that there’ll be progress and understanding that these teenagers committed crimes - often horrible crimes - but the developmental science of it says that these crimes themselves do not predict the possibilities for rehabilitation and transformation.”

Critics counter that some crimes are so heinous that life in prison is in everyone’s best interest, even if committed by a juvenile.

Garbarino is part of a panel tonight at the Jaqua Auditorium, called “When Our Youth Harm: How Communities Heal.”

**WEB EXTRA**

Hear an extended conversation between Dr. Garbarino and KLCC's Brian Bull, on his research and case that juvenile offenders should be treated and sentenced differently than adults:

Copyright 2018, KLCC.