Here’s a new study that doesn’t surprise me: It found that young people who had sustained brain injuries are more likely to commit crimes and wind up in jail.
Researchers in the United Kingdom at the University of Birmingham and the University of Exeter said that head trauma can make young brains that are still developing “misfire,” affecting judgment and the ability to control impulses, according to Medical Daily.
The paper printed a statement from one of the study’s authors, Dr. Huw Williams.
“The younger brain, being a work in progress, is prone to ‘risk taking’ and so is more vulnerable to getting injured in the first place, and to suffer subtle to more severe problems in attention, concentration and managing one’s mood and behavior,” Williams said.
“It is rare that brain injury is considered by criminal justice professionals when assessing the rehabilitative needs of an offender, even though recent studies from the UK have shown that prevalence of TBI among prisoners is has high as 60 percent,” he said. “Brain injury has been shown to be a condition that may increase the risk of offending, and it is also a strong ‘marker’ for other key factors that indicate risk of offending.”
The study suggests that school officials be trained to intervene and make sure that youths who have sustained brain injury receive proper rehabilitation, according to Medical Daily.
A Swedish study had previously found that those who have suffered TBI are three times more likely to commit a violent crime. And in another eye-popping statistic, those researchers discovered that almost 9 percent of those studied who had sustained severe TBI had been convicted of a violent crime, versus 3 percent of the control group, which had no brain damage, Medical Daily reported.
“Comparing the conviction rates before and after the diagnosis would provide another perspective on the effect of the illness on violent crime,” New York University School of Medicine professor Jan Volavka said in a statement.
“Among the major strengths of the study are the very large sample size, comprising the entire population of Sweden, and the follow-up of 35 years,” Volavka said. “The findings are of major public health importance and provide inspiration for further research.”