Abrams Pioneers Juvenile Justice Research

An article in EBP Society highlighted Social Welfare Professor Laura Abrams’ research contributions to a growing international discussion about the minimum age of criminal responsibility. The term refers to the youngest age at which an individual can be processed formally in the justice system, and is often determined by factors such as brain development, competency and childhood experiences. In the United States, separate juvenile justice systems have been created to emphasize rehabilitation over punishment, but the article points out that very few studies have been conducted on the appropriate minimum age of criminal responsibility. The article summarizes the findings of three studies conducted by Abrams to better understand the effectiveness of minimum age boundaries in the United States and the rest of the world. Abrams’ research highlights the variations and complications among different national and international juvenile justice systems and illustrates the importance of establishing age parameters into and out of the justice system.

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