Article Title

Brain Development, Social Context, and Justice Policy

Publication Title

Washington University Journal of Law & Policy


This article examines the role played by biological and psychological factors associated with adolescent criminal activity in the context of justice policy reform and its critics. Scott, Duell, and Steinberg assert that risk-taking behavior in adolescence is not solely associated with biological and psychological immaturity, but rather exists as a dynamic interaction between those factors and the individual social context. This interactive model of juvenile offending supports the trend of treating juveniles differently than adults in the criminal justice system and clarifies how correctional programs are crucial in either undermining or promoting healthy development in adolescents.