By Beth Locker and Julia Neighbors
Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court wisely ruled that children who have not committed murder can no longer be imprisoned for life without the chance for parole. Georgia was listed as one of the states where this practice had been allowed. In our state’s criminal justice system today, children as young as 13 can be treated as adults.
But children aren’t adults — and our courts shouldn’t treat them that way. Research shows that brain development takes place in stages and isn’t fully complete in adolescence and that the brain continues to develop until our early to mid-twenties. That means behaviors can change and there is hope for rehabilitation.