Is There a Link Between Brain Injury and Criminal Activity- by aihaozhe2


									A new study has suggested that there may be a link between brain injury and rates of
crime in young offenders.

The research results, conducted by a team from Exeter University and reported by the
BBC, demonstrate that a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in early life can have an effect
on the propensity of young males to commit criminal offences. Of 197 males aged
11-19 interviewed, half said that they had suffered some kind of TBI in early life, a
proportion three times greater than the rest of society. Better detection of these
injuries, argues the study, could help to prevent the instances of re-offending.

The report, published in the journal Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, took into
account a range of factors including criminal records, lack of so-called life
opportunities, drug use and medical history.

Although brain injury, in isolation, is not considered to be a major factor, it can
increase the chances of a child already 'susceptible to crime' being involved in just
that. It also says that the greater the number of head injuries a young male has, the
more likely he is to become a violent, repeat offender in later life.

"The associations between brain injuries and crime are very problematic," Professor
Huw Williams told BBC Radio 4's All in the Mind.

"It may not be causal in the sense of increasing the chances of crime, but it may well
be a factor in terms of re-offending." Prof Williams wants to see increased awareness
of the effect that a TBI may have on a child's academnic performance. It may lead to
poor concentration, less motivation and poorer memories, which in turn can lead to
frustration. He wants to see better neuro-rehabilitation provisions for children
showing signs of these afflictions.

He also suggests that some of the young men detained by police who are thought to be
under the influence of drugs or alcohol may actually be exhibiting symptoms of a TBI
if they are slurring their speech or unsteady on their feet. It was also revealed that
offenders with a brain injury are generally admitted to prison five years earlier than
their healthier counterparts, and of the adult prison population, 60% have suffered a
TBI at some point.

Prof Williams says that TBI may make it "likely that (the prisoners) are starting to
have increased problems in terms of the neuro-cognitive effect of a brain injury.

"These are things like impulse control problems, not really reading other people that
well, understanding the facial expressions of others, maybe being too quick to act on a
feeling of threat.

"All these kind of factors could be in the mix."
The team, although recognizing that its findings may seem alarming to parents of
childhood TBI victims, wish to reassure them that such an injury on its own is
unlikely to have a major effect unless other factors also come into play.

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