CLBB Co-Director Dr. Judith Edersheim‘s expert opinion was featured in an article with VICE on the recent Supreme Court ruling in Montgomery v. Alabama, asserting that the Court’s decision in 2012 banning life without parole sentences for juvenile defendants applied retroactively. In describing the neurological differences between adolescents and adults, Dr. Edersheim notes,
“Adolescence is a period of time when the brain is hyper plastic. It’s a period of rapidly-changing brain. Adolescents are supposed to take risks. That’s what their neurotransmitters and their brains are telling them. But they calculate risks differently from grown ups, and it has an evolutionary purpose and a neurological basis.”
The article further reports:
“According to Edersheim, the adolescent brain undergoes a period of ‘pruning’ before adulthood. So it’s not that teens just turn into crazy people—rather, their brains begin to learn to ‘process efficiently.’ And to do that, they need to take cues from their surroundings.
The neuroscience, she says, debunked the myth of the young ‘superpredator’ that preceded it.”
Read the full article, “Why Juvenile Murderers in America Now Have a Shot at Parole“, by Susan Zalkind, published by VICE on February 1, 2016.