After reading the article Should Juvenile offenders ever be sentenced to life without the Possibility of Parole (Steinberg, L.& Scott, E. 2010) I did some research on the adolescence stage of human development, regarding the reason juvenile offenders should not be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. And I have conducted a few facts of the adolescent brain supporting this argument.
I have heard many stories of the cruel and evil crimes that some children have committed. There are a number of causes that can occur during development, that can cause these, kind of criminal behaviors. Antisocial behavior which can be broken down into different types of behavior (1.) the presence of antisocial behavior for instance aggressive and disobedient behavior (2.) the lack of prosocial behavior, prosocial is a behavior that demonstrates cooperative, truthful and caring children. Behaviors such as these can really alter a child’s behavior. Most children show signs of some antisocial behavior during their development, and different children demonstrate different levels of prosocial and antisocial behavior. Some children however, may manifest extreme levels of both antisocial and prosocial behaviors; for example, a very loving but hostile child. Some children can experience low levels of both types of behaviors. Extreme levels of antisocial behavior are considered a mental illness. Young children may show extreme antagonism towards authoritative figures, and be diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder.
On the other hand, older children may lie, or engage in violent behavior, and be diagnosed with conduct disorder. Factors that contribute to an individual child’s antisocial behavior vary, but frequently they usually include some kind of family issues; for instance, (Divorce, extreme and (or) strict disciplinary actions at home or actual child abuse, or health problems). Children and adolescents with antisocial behavior disorders have an increased risk of school dropout or failing grades, early alcohol and substance abuse, suicidal acts or attempts, and criminal behavior. An important characteristic of antisocial children and adolescents is that they appear to have no feelings. Besides showing no care for others’ feelings or remorse for hurting others, they demonstrate none of their own feelings except for a very aggressive and antagonistic. But there are still a lot more factors that contribute to these disorders in children.
According to A child’s world: Infancy through adolescence (Papalia, D. E., Feldman, R. D., 2011) many influences may push young people to violent acts, such as, the immature adolescent brain, particularly the prefrontal cortex, which is crucial to judgment and impulse suppression, ready access to guns in a culture that romanticizes gunplay, the presence of gangs at school, having witnessed or having been victims of neighborhood violence, or having been exposed to media violence.