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Surrounding Self-Control$
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Alfred R. Mele

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780197500941

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780197500941.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 17 January 2022

Juvenile Self-Control and Legal Responsibility

Juvenile Self-Control and Legal Responsibility

Building a Scalar Standard

(p.334) 18 Juvenile Self-Control and Legal Responsibility
Surrounding Self-Control

Tyler K. Fagan

Katrina Sifferd

William Hirstein

Oxford University Press

US criminal courts have recently moved toward seeing juveniles as inherently less culpable than their adult counterparts, influenced by a growing mass of neuroscientific and psychological evidence. In support of this trend, this chapter argues that the criminal law’s notion of responsible agency requires both the cognitive capacity to understand one’s actions and the volitional control to conform one’s actions to legal standards. These capacities require, among other things, a minimal working set of executive functions—a suite of mental processes, mainly realized in the prefrontal cortex, such as planning and inhibition—which remain in significant states of immaturity through late adolescence, and in some cases beyond. Drawing on scientific evidence of how these cognitive and volitional capacities develop in the maturing brain, the authors sketch a scalar structure of juvenile responsibility, and suggest some possible directions for reforming the juvenile justice system to reflect this scalar structure.

Keywords:   responsibility, criminal law, juvenile, juvenile justice, adolescence, executive function, neuroscience, brain, philosophy of law, neurolaw

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