Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Concern over traumatic brain injury in youth offenders

Date:
November 9, 2010
Source:
University of Exeter
Summary:
A new study of young offenders has revealed they have a significantly higher rate of traumatic brain injury (TBI) than that expected in society as a whole. Researchers in the UK also found TBI was associated with a greater number of convictions and, when there were three or more TBIs, greater violence in offending.

A new study of young offenders has revealed they have a significantly higher rate of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) than that expected in society as a whole.

Researchers at the University of Exeter also found TBI was associated with a greater number of convictions and, when there were three or more TBIs, greater violence in offending.

The research, published online on 10 November in the journal Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, suggests brain injury must be taken seriously in the assessment and management of offenders.

Professor Huw Williams, from the University of Exeter's School of Psychology and lead author of the research, said: "This study shows that TBI is relatively common in offender groups and that it may be associated with reoffending. However, we cannot know whether brain injury per se increases likelihood of offending.

"There may well be underlying risk factors for TBI and offending behaviour. These could include deprivation, lack of life opportunities, low concern for self-care, and even being a person who 'takes risks'. A TBI may be a 'marker' for these other factors."

In the study, young male offenders aged 11 to 19 years were asked to complete self-reports on head injury, crime history, mental health and drug use -- with 197 participants (94% of those asked) taking part.

Traumatic Brain Injury -- an incident involving a blow to the head with a Loss of Consciousness (LOC) -- was reported by 46% of the sample. This is higher than estimates for TBI in society as a whole of between 5% and 30% dependent on age group.

The main cause of injury in the young offenders was violence. In non-offending younger people, injury typically occurs in falls or in sports.

In the study, repeat injury was common -- with a third reporting being "knocked out" more than once. Three or more TBIs were associated with greater violence in offences. Those with self-reported TBI were also at risk of greater mental health problems and of misuse of cannabis.

The research adds to another study published this year by Exeter researchers. Looking at adult offenders in prison, the previous work also found much higher rates of TBI than expected in society as a whole, with 60% claiming to have suffered a concussion. Those who said they had suffered a TBI were, on average, five years younger when they were first in prison compared to non-injured -- 16-years-old compared to 21. They also reported higher rates of repeat offending.

Professor Williams said it is already widely known that TBIs, particularly when there is longer LOC, can lead to problems in attention, memory, planning and problems in behaviour, for example, in anger management and impulse control. This research suggests it should be a key consideration in enabling these young offenders to change their behaviour.

"Taking account of brain injury could help reduce repeat offending in those affected," he said. "Screening for TBI could be included in the health assessments of offenders to identify those who need more detailed assessment for providing appropriate management. Importantly, adolescence could be a critical window of opportunity for diverting young offenders at risk of injury and of further offending into non-offending lifestyles."

The research was carried out in partnership with the United Kingdom Acquired Brain Injury Forum (UKABIF) and funded by the Big Lottery and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

Professor Mike Barnes, from UKABIF, said: "The figures suggested by this study mean action must be taken. The number of young people and adults within the criminal justice system is enormous and, as well as the anguish caused to them and their families, there is a huge cost to society to take into account."

The University of Exeter, UKABIF and The Child Brain Injury Trust have developed a special interest group which aims to improve understanding of acquired brain injury in offending behaviour.

They hope to help implement early screening for individuals within the criminal justice system and ensure access is available to appropriate rehabilitation for those who need it.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Exeter. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. W. Huw Williams, Avril J. Mewse, James Tonks, Sarah Mills, Crispin N. W. Burgess, Giray Cordan. Traumatic brain injury in a prison population: Prevalence and risk for re-offending. Brain Injury, 2010; 24 (10): 1184 DOI: 10.3109/02699052.2010.495697
  2. W. Huw Williams; Giray Cordan; Avril J. Mewse; James Tonks; Crispin N. W. Burgess. Self-Reported Traumatic Brain Injury in Male Young Offenders: A risk factor for re-offending, poor mental health and violence? Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 2010; DOI: 10.1080/09602011.2010.519613

Cite This Page:

University of Exeter. "Concern over traumatic brain injury in youth offenders." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 November 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101109191800.htm>.
University of Exeter. (2010, November 9). Concern over traumatic brain injury in youth offenders. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101109191800.htm
University of Exeter. "Concern over traumatic brain injury in youth offenders." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101109191800.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) In a small study, researchers found that the majority of long-time smokers quit after taking psilocybin pills and undergoing therapy sessions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Fat Shaming' Might Actually Cause Weight Gain

'Fat Shaming' Might Actually Cause Weight Gain

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) A study for University College London suggests obese people who are discriminated against gain more weight than those who are not. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins