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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

WATCH — Battling Blood in the Streets: How Can Neuroscience Promote Public Health and Support Public Policy to Prevent Community Violence?

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Click poster to enlarge.

Far too many people across the country are left dead, injured, or traumatized by community violence. Communities can be safer when neuroscience, public health strategies, and collective advocacy are aligned in practice and policy. What are the best next steps to fostering a broad science-informed advocacy movement to effectively address community violence? The event took place at 4:00 pm on Wednesday, September 7th, in Wasserstein Hall, Room 1010 at Harvard Law School (1585 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA).

The event was free and open to the public, and was followed by the Petrie-Flom Center’s 2016 Open House.

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Synaptic Gap: 21st Century Brain Science Meets Mental Health Treatment and Policy

CLBB Co-Director Dr. Judith Edersheim will be one of the featured speakers at “Synaptic Gap: 21st Century Brain Science Meets Mental Health Treatment and Policy“, a HUBweek 2016 event that will explore ways to connect the latest advances in neuroscience with mental health treatment and policy. She will be interviewed by award-winning Boston Globe columnist Kevin Cullen.

The event will take place on Wednesday, September 28th from 7:30am – 4:30pm at Starr Center, 185 Cambridge Street, 2nd Floor.

Make sure to register for the event here!
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Half a Life: Legal and Policy Implications of Releasing Youth Incarcerated for Murder

Youth convicted of murder ordinarily serve decades in prison before they complete a sentence or are paroled. At the time of release, many of them have spent at least half of their entire life and all of their adulthood incarcerated with adults in prisons.  What are the outcomes for these youth when released in adulthood?  Do they commit crimes in their communities or perhaps kill again? What lessons for law, correctional practice and public policy can be drawn from their outcomes?  This event continues the discussion that began with the April 2016 event “Boys to Men to Boys.”  The presenters will make the first presentation of their original research findings on outcomes of youth convicted of murder and examine other behavioral science and neurodevelopmental research to frame a conversation about whether or how current law, policy, and practice might be informed by the lives these men lead upon release.

This event will take place on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 at 12:00 pm in Austin Hall, North Classroom (100), Harvard Law School.

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Zen & the Brain Revisited: Living Zen Remindfully

On Friday, June 24, 2016, at McLean Hospital, CLBB will co-sponsor a talk by James H. Austin, MD, Emeritus Professor of Neurology, University of Colorado School of Medicine, and author of the new book, Living Zen Remindfully (MIT Press, 2016).

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Dr. Robert Kinscherff Answers: Should We Ever Sentence Juveniles as Adults? (VIDEO)

CLBB Faculty Member Dr. Robert Kinscherff spoke on Tuesday, May 10, at Harvard Law School about juvenile justice and the treatment of adolescents versus adults within the criminal justice system. The event, hosted by the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice, was free and open to the public. About the event:

Nearly a quarter of a million youth are tried, sentenced, or imprisoned as adults every year across the United States. On any given day, ten thousand youth are detained or incarcerated in adult jails and prisons.

Putting a human face to these sobering statistics, Boy With A Knife tells the story of Karter Kane Reed, who, at the age of sixteen, was sentenced to life in an adult prison for a murder he committed in 1993 in a high school classroom. Twenty years later, in 2013, he became one of the few men in Massachusetts to sue the Parole Board and win his freedom.

The emotional and devastating narrative takes us step by step through Karter’s crime, trial, punishment, and survival in prison, as well as his readjustment into regular society. In addition to being a powerful portrayal of one boy trying to come to terms with the consequences of his tragic actions, Boy With A Knife is also a searing critique of the practice of sentencing youth to adult prisons, providing a wake-up call on how we must change the laws in this country that allow children to be sentenced as adults. Continue reading »