News and Commentary Archive

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Young people’s brain development gives us window for change

By Marc Schindler | Juvenile Justice Information Exchange | December 18, 2014

Marc Schindler

Marc Schindler

We know more today than ever before about what makes young people tick. The field of juvenile justice has benefited from a wealth of serious research on adolescent development and brain science, in part thanks to the groundbreaking scholarship from the MacArthur Foundation’s Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice, which began in 1997.

And during this week’s ninth annual MacArthur Models for Change conference, it was clear that this information and the initiative’s work have influenced how we talk and think about young people and juvenile justice.

There has been much progress in juvenile justice reform over the past decade, including 45 percent fewer young people confined and policy changes in 24 states to reduce the number of youths transferred to adult court or housed in adult facilities.

However, clearly we still have a long way to go in translating this research into practice. Continue reading »