Special seminar

The health and developmental determinants of adolescent criminalisation

There is strong international evidence that neurodevelopmental disability, poor mental health, trauma, and experiences of child maltreatment all appear to increase the risk of exposure to criminal justice systems in adolescence. This risk is amplified by experiences of social marginalization and inequality, and by criminal justice processes that can discriminate against and therefore criminalize on the basis of ill-health and disability. Significant numbers of young people are therefore vulnerable to criminal behaviour and criminalization due to a toxic combination of health difficulties and social disadvantage. This evidence provides a persuasive case for policy and practice reform, including for investment in approaches to prevent criminalization on the basis of health and developmental difficulties, and to better address related needs once within a criminal justice system.

Tuesday 5 February, 12:30 – 1:30 pm, Ella Latham Auditorium (Flyer)



Professor Nathan Hughes
Department of Sociological Studies, University of Sheffield, UK

Nathan is Professorial Fellow at the University of Sheffield. Nathan’s research examines the influence of health and developmental difficulties on the risk of criminality and criminalisation among young people and young adults, with a particular focus on experiences of neurodevelopmental disorders and traumatic brain injury.

This paper is one of a series, led by Prof Stuart Kinner (MCRI), intended to be published in the Lancet Child and Adolescent Health, examining the health profiles of justice-involved young people across the globe.

Nathan previously spent 2 years at MCRI on a European Commission Marie Curie Research Fellowship.


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