Adolescents and criminal behavior

On Behalf of | Mar 31, 2023 | Juvenile Crimes

Adolescents are less mentally developed than adults, and they have less life experience, which can predispose some children to commit risky or even criminal behavior. When they commit crimes, the criminal justice system in Florida often takes a different approach to their trial and sentencing. There are many reasons why adolescents may be more predisposed to criminal behavior.

Differences between adult and adolescent brains

There are a number of differences between adult and adolescent brains, including the development of the myelin sheath of the prefrontal cortex, which is involved in decision-making. To say that adolescents are completely less mentally developed than adults isn’t quite right, though. For instance, if you give adults and adolescents the same physics problem and both groups have the same training, both adults and adolescents can solve the problem equally well. Yet adolescents still make poor decisions in real-world contexts, which can lead to juvenile crimes.

Cultural differences and the media

To further confuse the issues, cultural differences can further determine when adolescence ends. In general, cultures that require extensive training to prepare adolescents for higher-paying jobs also have extended adolescence. In contrast, in some cultures, adolescence might be over even before the end of the teen years. Additionally, media might have an effect on how we view when adolescence ends.

Impulse control disorders

When an impulse control disorder comes into play, the problems associated with the juvenile brain and experience differences are even greater. For instance, intermittent explosive disorder, kleptomania, and conduct disorder are all types of impulse control disorders that can increase the likelihood that an adolescent will engage in some type of criminal behavior.

Adolescents and adults behave differently, so the justice system often handles them differently. Parents need to be aware of their teenagers and the struggles they face so that they can curb risky behavior that could be dangerous or even criminal.


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