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- مبلغ: ۹۱,۰۰۰ تومان
Recent insights from neuroscientific studies on brain maturation emphasize the view that young adults are a distinct group with different needs compared to children and adults. Evidence from these studies shows that the frontal lobes of the brain continue to develop into the mid-twenties (Prior et al., 2011). It is assumed that this part of the brain deals with the regulation of impulses that may lead to criminal behaviour (see e.g., Monahan, Steinberg, Cauffman, & Mulvey, 2009; Steinberg, 2013; Strang, Chein, & Steinberg, 2013). A second compelling neuroscientific insight is that great variation between individuals exists in the rate in which this maturation occurs (Braams, van Duijvenvoorde, Peper, & Crone, 2015). These neuroscientific insights are helpful to better understand criminal behavior and how to deal with delinquent young adults in the criminal justice system. First, young (adult) offenders account for a disproportionate amount of crimes, a phenomenon that is widely known as the age-crime curve (Farrington, 1986). Second, individual variation exists in continuing criminal careers or desistance from it during young adulthood. For those who continue their criminal career and get into contact with the criminal justice system, it is seen as a challenge to motivate and engage them in any intervention as part of their sentence. Third, amongst psychosocial findings, neuroscientific insights raise the question whether immaturity can be listed as a mitigating factor in judicial decision-making.
Besides chronological age as a legal marker, the concept of maturity has the potential to become an important consideration in legal decision-making related to young adult offenders in the Netherlands. Although this paper focused on Dutch legislation concerning the sentencing of delinquent young adults, other European countries, such as Germany, have similar judicial modalities for sentencing young adults. This is based on several neuroscientific findings, such as that the maturation of the brain continues until the mid-twenties (see e.g., Prior et al., 2011). These neuroscientific findings, together with the fact that young adults are overrepresented in crime statistics, resulted in the implementation of the adolescent criminal law which make it possible to sentence young adult offenders up to the age of 23 with a sentence or measure from juvenile law. This ‘developmentally appropriate’ sentencing can be seen as a tailored approach in dealing with crime. Although this judicial possibility has been used now for several years in the Netherlands, several considerations should be taken into account, for instance the fact that maturity is an elusive ‘umbrella’ term that needs further elaboration in order to prevent arbitrariness in imposing punishments. In addition to unraveling the concept of immaturity, neuropsychological assessment instruments might be useful in assessing abilities that are viewed as indicators of immaturity. Finally, with the introduction of the adolescent criminal law, the concept of maturity has gained legal recognition in the criminal proceedings against young adults. However, further research needs to be done with regard to the neuropsychological assessment of maturity in order to prevent legal inequality within sentencing young adults. To end with, the implementation of the adolescent criminal law is currently being evaluated by the Research and Documentation Center of the Dutch ministry of Justice and Security (see WODC evaluation program of sentencing adolescents between the age of 16 and 23 in the Netherlands, 2015–2019: www.wodc.nl/onderzoek/onderzoeksprogramma/adolescentenstrafrecht/ index.aspx).