In my criminal and traffic cases I meet a lot of teens and young adults. One of the many questions I ask them is"Why did you do this?"
The most common answer is: "I don't know". Other responses are often "It seemed like a good idea at the time" or "Everyone was doing it". It seems silly, but I believe that these responses are often completely accurate. Neuroscience has concluded that young people's brains connect up at different rates and at different times. As always, boys seem to take longer than girls. The cortex and the frontal lobe connection may not be completed until the late or mid twenties. This connection is vital for impulse control. The full connection allows for a consideration of consequences and situations.
I have found this theory to be very useful in providing mitigation to Judges. Some weight can be given to the science while not sounding like an excuse. I tell young people all the time that they should constantly be asking themselves two questions:
Where am I? and Who am I with?
These two questions can compel a consideration of circumstances and consequences that does not come naturally. Most of the cases I handle involve young people who are with other people and are in places where they are exposed. You do not have to smoke pot to be arrested for possession of pot found in a vehicle you are riding in. You often do not know what people have on them or what is in a car. The same is true with almost all offenses.
I often speak to young people, groups and organizations. I try to give kids practical tools they can use to avoid the risky situations.You can change the way they think. However, that is always more successful after an event rather than before.
I do not represent many bad kids. Almost are are good kids who are trying to cope with the issues of being teens and young adults. Feel free to contact me if you would like more information.
All the best. Ed