Life as a Number: The Brain's Immaturity


Impulsive and aggressive behaviors can easily be linked to juvenile crimes. They can also be further linked to a brain's immaturity level; levels that psychologists are working with.

"My personal goal is to assist them in change, to work toward community safety, and to help them develop into responsible adults," said Monty Schultz, clinical social worker.

It is a goal that could take a while for a juvenile to accomplish due to the constant development of their brain.

"The juvenile mind is inherently not well developed until his/her age reaches the mid-20's. Frontal lobes do not develop as quickly which leads to impulsive behavior, aggression, and poor choices. Research have shown there is also a link to issues with peer pressure," said Schultz.

Officials say that even at ages 16 and 17, juveniles are still likely to possess those qualities.

"Our human brains are not developed until age 25. Adolescence is a period of opportunities, but it is also a period of risk. Youth are just experimenting with new behaviors," said Sarah Forrest, policy coordinator at Voices for Children.

As you can imagine, a child without a fully-developed brain faces many challenges each day. Their biggest challenge though comes from the choices they might make.

"Inherently, we are given choices throughout our lives. We have the choice as toddlers -- we are taught to make choices -- right or wrong," said Schultz.

Although young people may make bad choices, research shows that a violent adolescent doesn't necessarily become a violent adult.

"Research shows as people age, the aggressiveness of their crime may change. After age 25, if there isn't aggression in their life, they won't develop that aggressive behavior after that," said Schultz.