Does Brain Injury Contribute to Criminal Behavior?
Traumatic brain injury is associated with many negative things later in life. Headaches, anxiety, depression, and memory problems have all been scientifically linked to traumatic brain injury, and numerous studies have shown these symptoms can become even more significant with increased age. According to new research from the University of Exeter, TBI may also have a more subtle but life destroying symptom: criminal behavior.
Professor Huw Williams and colleagues surveyed 200 prisoners and found that 60 percent of young people revealed having some form of TBI as children from a range of incidents such as falling, car accidents and sports activities. These injuries, the researchers suggests, affect natural development of temperance, social judgement, and control impulses which contribute to criminality.
“The young 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,” report author Williams explained.
“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 as high as 60%. 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 for offending.”
Parent Herald reports the findings caused the researchers to urge for early intervention and diagnosis to better manage brain injuries among young children, as well as providing essential neuro-rehabilitative support to prevent the occurrence.