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Brain Injuries Among Teenage Offenders

An injury to the brain can have far reaching consequences. It is not like a broken bone, which can generally be treated and repaired. The complexities of the brain are such that the medical community is still not certain about all of the long range effects of brain injuries. A recent report discusses the intricacies of brain injuries among youths, who are still in their developmental years. According to the report, studies show that at least half of all New York City jail inmates, between the ages of 16 and 18, report suffering from some level of brain injury prior to their incarceration. The study was recently published in The Journal of Adolescent Health.

Researchers questioned 300 boys and 84 girls, asking about the extent, seriousness and cause of any previous brain injuries. The results reportedly showed that 50% of the male and female youths reported traumatic brain injuries that led to some level of amnesia, a temporary loss of consciousness or a combination of both. Researchers also reportedly found that of those injuries, 55% of them resulted from physical assaults. The number of reported incidents of injury has increased substantially in recent years. A previous study of a similar population demonstrated an injury rate of 15 to 30 percent.

Past Brain Injury and Present Behaviors
According to the report, researchers assert that there is some correlation between these brain injuries and the behavior displayed by these young adults. They state that talking back, displaying rudeness or forgetting the expected routine can all be consequences of possible brain injury. Dr. John D. Corrigan is a nationally recognized head injury expert. In the article, he explains that inmates who have suffered brain injuries are more likely to break the rules. They are also more likely to engage in substance abuse and have a substantially more difficult time reintegrating into society after serving their respective sentences. He was quoted as saying, “What’s happening with many of these kids, these young adults in the criminal population, is they’re having them {brain injuries} early in life.” He went on to assert that the repercussions of these injuries may not manifest until the children are older.

New York City is not the only jurisdiction to study this issue. According to the article, Texas and Virginia, among other states, have also undertaken brain injury studies of inmates. Jail officials reportedly use the information as a training tool for the guards who are dealing with these inmates on a daily basis. The data is also used to try and reduce recidivism among the young offenders. The report states that almost 4,000 youth are incarcerated at New York’s Rikers Island each year. Of that number, about half of them are reportedly re-incarcerated within their first year of being released from the facility.

This report demonstrates the ongoing difficulties caused by brain injuries among children. When an attorney litigates a brain injury case, it is imperative to present the court with information about the long term effects that the child in question could one day face.

If your child has suffered a brain injury due to the negligence of another, contact the experienced attorneys of Levin & Perconti at (312) 332-2872 for a free consultation.

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