News and Commentary Archive

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


The Center for Law, Brain & Behavior puts the most accurate and actionable neuroscience in the hands of judges, lawyers, policymakers and journalists—people who shape the standards and practices of our legal system and affect its impact on people’s lives. We work to make the legal system more effective and more just for all those affected by the law.

Board Approves Parole for Man Convicted as Juvenile

Boston Magazine | Steve Annear | June 5, 2014

The Massachusetts Parole Board announced Thursday that Frederick Christian, who was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole as a juvenile, is eligible for release.

Christian, who was convicted in 1998 for his role in the murder of two men during an armed robbery in Brockton, is the first inmate scheduled to be released from the custody of the Department of Corrections as a result of recent decisions from both the Supreme Court and the state Supreme Court.

“After careful consideration of all relevant facts, including the nature of the underlying offense, the age of the inmate at the time of the crime, criminal record, institutional record, the inmate’s testimony at the hearing, and the views of the public as expressed at the hearing or in writing, we conclude by unanimous vote that the inmate is a suitable candidate for parole,” according to parole officials’ findings. Continue reading »

SJC decision could change handling of juvenile offenders

By Milton Valencia and John Ellement | The Boston Globe | December 27, 2013

This week’s Supreme Judicial Court decision opening the door to parole for teenagers convicted of murder will force a major examination of the way the state tries, sentences, and attempts to rehabilitate them, according to legal analysts.

In its Tuesday decision, Massachusetts’ highest court called on the state to quickly create a “new, constitutional sentencing scheme for juveniles convicted of homicide crimes.”

“We have to look at our system and figure out where we make it work in a way that has meaningful accountability, but looks at kids in a meaningful way, and addresses the fact that they are kids,” said Naoka Carey, executive director of Citizens for Juvenile Justice, a nonprofit research and advocacy group based in Massachusetts, in a phone interview Thursday. Continue reading »