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Teen said to endanger juvenile inmates held in solitary confinement

The teenage brain is often considered a mystery. Multiple studies prove that while the brain is continually developing throughout adolescence and into young adulthood, some areas of the brain are quicker to develop than others. Teenagers who fall victim to abuse while growing up have extended complications involving neurological development. Babies and children who are loved and nurtured tend to develop strong emotional and empathetic neurological pathways, while abused children develop a lack of empathy to help them cope with their negative surroundings. Wisconsin psychologists acknowledge that the extent of this brain damage varies depending on the type of abuse inflicted and the duration of the abuse. Abused individuals have an increased risk of committing juvenile crimes.

A young man who had been abused by his father committed a brutal crime and has been moved to a secluded cell in an adult prison for holding. Officials fear that he poses a significant threat to other juveniles in the facility where he was being held. Although he was originally sent to the juvenile facility because the detention center better met his needs, the judge ordered him to solitary confinement in the adult jail. The 14-year-old’s guardian and public defender are fighting to keep him at the detention center.

The young boy faces first and second-degree murder charges for the alleged shooting death of his father, as well as the stabbing death of his autistic brother.

It is often hard to know what treatment will best facilitate the needs of a juvenile offender. A teenager who has significant mental trauma may be better off when able to socialize with others. Studies have shown that teenagers and adults who are kept in isolation may suffer from extended psychological damage. Juveniles who face prison time for their crimes may want to carefully consider speaking with a criminal defense attorney, who may be helpful in providing vital legal advice regarding their case.

Source: NY Daily News, “Idaho teen accused of slaying father, brother returned to isolation at adult jail,” Nicole Hensley, July 3, 2014. 

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