As an editorial board, we have long believed that if any group deserves a second chance to make good after committing even the worst of crimes, it’s teenagers.
Granting a second chance at redemption to an impressionable, impulsive 15-year-old whose crime came maybe after years of abuse or living amid violence and poverty, is the decent thing to do. And it’s a view supported by the science of adolescent brain development, which has found through ample research
that our brains are not fully developed — able to rein in rash behavior, make rational decisions and weigh the long-term consequences of actions — until our mid-20s.
A 15-year-old, then, is less culpable than a 25-year-old for stealing a car and going on a joyride, committing an armed robbery or fatally shooting someone in a fit of anger.
Less culpable, yet still responsible.
And our laws should reflect that complicated reality.