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Juvenile Justice Scholar Discusses Developmental Factors Of Young Offenders


A Loyola University psychology professor who’s worked with juvenile offenders is in Eugene today. As KLCC’s Brian Bull reports, James Garbarino argues there needs to be more leniency in how the justice system handles youths.

Garbarino says the brain isn’t fully developed until the mid-20s, which affects ability to reason, empathize, and assess risks and outcomes. He says recent rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court have taken that into account, and those could eventually reduce the sentence for Kip Kinkel…who’s serving 112 years for a school shooting 20 years ago.

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
Psychologist and author James Garbarino, from Loyola University.

“Well, certainly my hope for Kip and others around the country is that there’ll be progress and understanding that these teenagers committed crimes - often horrible crimes - but the developmental science of it says that these crimes themselves do not predict the possibilities for rehabilitation and transformation.”

Critics counter that some crimes are so heinous that life in prison is in everyone’s best interest, even if committed by a juvenile.

Garbarino is part of a panel tonight at the Jaqua Auditorium, called “When Our Youth Harm: How Communities Heal.”


Hear an extended conversation between Dr. Garbarino and KLCC's Brian Bull, on his research and case that juvenile offenders should be treated and sentenced differently than adults:


Copyright 2018, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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