A session at the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges’ annual conference, held here this week, was billed as a chance for attendees to ask questions of Caren Harp, the new head of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP).
In May 2017, here at the JJIE.org, Caren Harp, President Donald Trump’s nominee to be the next administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention in the Department of Justice, wrote in great detail her thoughts about juvenile justice.
In her opinion column she writes about “misplaced reliance on nascent neuroscience and neuroimaging evidence.” It “invites pushback from those who favor a retributive system, and it may create some unintended and unwanted consequences for youth and young adults.”
The renewed focus on adolescent development in juvenile justice is welcome and overdue. Adolescence is potentially the best opportunity to intervene effectively with youth to help them develop empathy, impulse control and good decision-making skills.