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.
Although juvenile offenders in Wisconsin should be held responsible for their crimes, many people question the degree of punishment minors should receive. Credible studies confirm that teenagers are not always able to suppress aggressive behavior, make rational decisions, or understand the consequences of their actions. Some believe that rehabilitation and treatment should be favored over intense incarceration for juvenile crimes. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed with this thought when they took away the courts’ ability to sentence juvenile offenders to life-without-parole in 2012.
Many studies have shown that the adolescent brain is not yet fully developed and, in many cases, is unable to make rational decisions. This is especially true when teenagers are put into certain, high-stress situations. While some people believe that Wisconsin teenagers who commit juvenile crimes are a menace to society and should be locked away in prison, others believe that teens should be given a chance at rehabilitation.