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 — Second Chance Kids

CLBB’s Dr. Robert Kinscherff offers commentary on the changing landscape of juvenile justice, especially for offenders who were previously serving life sentences without parole. In this new FRONTLINE documentary, “Second Chance Kids”, he discusses the implications of the Supreme Court ruling that changed everything (Miller v. Alabama) and the role neuroscience research played in shaping such a monumental decision. The following article (also quoting Dr. Kinscherff) accompanied the FRONTLINE documentary.
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WATCH — Half a Life

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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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WATCH — Battling Blood in the Streets

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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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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 »

WATCH — Boys to Men to Boys

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Approximately 2,000 youth sentenced to life without parole are now serving unconstitutional sentences in US prisons. What is the role for psychology and neuroscience in re-sentencing and parole after Miller and Montgomery?

Join two experts in forensic psychology, law and juvenile justice policy, for a discussion of the dilemmas posed after the Supreme Court’s recent decision to ban mandatory life without possibility of parole for juvenile homicides (Miller v. Alabama, 2012) and then this year to retroactively apply this decision to some 2,000 incarcerated individuals (Montgomery v. Louisiana, 2016).

The event will be held at 12:00 pm on Wednesday, April 13, in Wasserstein Hall, Milstein East C (2036) at Harvard Law School (1585 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA).

This event is free and open to the public. Lunch will be served.

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