News and Commentary Archive

Explore recent scientific discoveries and news as well as CLBB events, commentary, and press.

Mission

The speed of technology in neuroscience as it impacts ethical and just decisions in the legal system needs to be understood by lawyers, judges, public policy makers, and the general public. The Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Law, Brain, and Behavior is an academic and professional resource for the education, research, and understanding of neuroscience and the law. Read more

Amanda Pustilnik to Help Develop Standards for Legal Uses of Brain Imaging

The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) has convened a pioneering working group to develop international standards for the legal uses of brain imaging, a group that will include CLBB Faculty Member and former Fellow in Law & Applied Neuroscience, Amanda Pustilnik. This will be the first body to set international standards for legal and policy uses of brain imaging, advancing law, policy, and human outcomes in the pain area. Additionally, it will provide a model for how to set standards in all areas where law may turn to brain imaging relating to the brain’s production of sensation, affect, and behavior. This initiative was in part prompted by the ideas raised at CLBB’s recent conference,  “Visible Solutions: How Neuroimaging Helps Law Re-envision Pain”.

Congratulations to Amanda Pustilnik for being part of this trailblazing effort!

WATCH: “Raising the Age of Juvenile Court in Connecticut”

During a speech in November at the University of Connecticut Law School, Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy proposed that his state raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction through age 20, and that a separate process be developed for handing cases for defendants and offenders under the age of 25.

His proposal mirrors recommendations by Harvard Kennedy School researchers, and if enacted, would make Connecticut the first state in US history to raise the age of juvenile, or family, court jurisdiction beyond age 18.

Join the Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management at Harvard Kennedy School on Monday evening, January 25, 2016 at 6:30 in Wiener Auditorium for A Conversation with Dannel P. Malloy on Raising the Age of Juvenile Court in Connecticut’, moderated by Vincent Schiraldi, and hear why Gov. Malloy proposed to raise the age of family court to 21.

Featuring

Event Details

  • Monday, January 25, 2015 – 6:30 PM
  • Harvard Kennedy School | Wiener Auditorium, Taubman Building, Ground Floor 
    79 JFK Street, Cambridge | Directions

About this Event

This event is sponsored by the Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management (HKS), MGH Center for Law, Brain & Behavior, the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy (HKS), the Criminal Justice Program of Study, Research & Advocacy (HLS), and the student-led Criminal Justice Professional Interest Council (HKS). Continue reading »

Dr. Bruce Price to Speak on the Future of Behavioral Neurology

CLBB Co-Director Bruce Price will be the Keynote Speaker at the Groupe de Reserche sur la maladie d’Alzheimer XXIXth Congress in Marseille, France on January 29, 2016. His speech, “The Future of Behavioral Neurology in the 21st Century”, will highlight CLBB as a model of cross-disciplinary collaboration. He will be giving similar talks at BIDMC and North Shore Hospital psychiatry grand rounds and the annual Derek Denny-Brown lecture of the Boston Society for Neurology and Psychiatry.

More information can be found out about the event here.

Congratulations to Dr. Price!

Dr. Edersheim Explains the Insanity Defenses for Juvenile Killers

CLBB Co-Director Dr. Judith Edersheim spoke with VICE on the insanity defense and its unique application in cases with juvenile defendants. She also spoke generally about the ongoing trial of Philip Chism, 16, who is accused of rape and murder and who, the defense argues, suffers from severe mental illness. In an interview with Susan Zalkind, Dr. Edersheim notes:

“The law has an insanity standard that is premised on an examination of behavior. Is this person at the moment of this offense behaving in a folk-psychology way that indicates that he or she has a defect of reason or volition, an inability to control themselves, or an inability to think reasonably? You could ask those same questions of juveniles or adults.

The more complicated answer is philosophical moral and neuroscientific. Adolescents are so different [from adults] that we ought to have different standards for them in light of the emerging adolescent neuroscience and how that intersects the moral underpinnings of law.”

Read the rest of the piece from VICE, “An Expert Explains the Complexities and Confusion of Insanity Defenses for Juvenile Killers”, by Susan Zalkind, published November 20, 2015.

Judge Nancy Gertner Reflects On Mandatory Minimums

CLBB Facugertner_150x150lty Member Nancy Gertner appeared on WBUR to discuss her efforts to fix the system of mass incarceration that forced her to put hundreds of men and women behind bars, during her 17-year judicial career. In conversation with host Meghna Chakrabarti, Judge Gertner notes:

“The irony is, I’m going through all my sentences — hundreds of men, largely men that I sentenced — and I’m mostly dealing with mandatory minimums, because, candidly…I went as low as I could go in all of these cases. And now we’re dealing with people who just got stuck in, really, a nightmare sentencing structure.”

Listen to WBUR’s radio broadcast from November 13, 2015 here.