The latest findings in neuroscience are increasingly affecting the justice system in America. Owen Jones, professor of law and biology at Vanderbilt University, explores where neurolaw is making its mark and where the discipline is heading.
One significant finding from MRI scanners is that the adolescent brain continues to develop right into the early- and mid-twenties. The fact that we are not ‘adults’ at age 18 is having big repercussions in the legal system.
In San Francisco, the entire way that young offenders of crimes such as armed robbery up to the age of 25 are treated is adapting to the brain data.
More and more, neuroscientists are testifying in courts, often to mitigate sentences including the death penalty in juveniles. Other times, they highlight rare brain abnormalities that cause violent and antisocial behaviour, which helps justify a lighter sentence.
However, young brains are still malleable. In Wisconsin, brain imaging of juvenile prisoners can detect psychopathic markers. Once identified, staff can employ techniques to de-programme those antisocial traits and rehabilitate prisoners to ready them for, they hope, a crime-free life outside.
And this is simply the first generation of neurolaw – where to next?
University of Lincoln, College of Social Science, School of Health and Social Care
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed Term
An opportunity has arisen for a highly motivated Research Assistant with relevant research skills and experience to undertake criminal justice and health research funded by the National Institute for Health Research and under supervision of Dr Coral Sirdifield in the Community and Health Research Unit (CaHRU).
Based at the University of Lincoln Brayford Campus, the Research Assistant will also work closely with members of the project steering group and external advisory group, including service user representatives where this is needed.
The Research Assistant will report directly to Dr Sirdifield and will also be provided with support from other members of the research team as needed.
You will be involved in all aspects of the research project, including: undertaking a narrative systematic literature review; conducting thematic analysis of documents; and conducting interviews and surveys with staff from a variety of criminal justice and health related organisations across England. You will also contribute to the preparation of reports, conference abstracts, presentations, and journal articles.
Ideally you will have experience of systematic reviews, qualitative and survey methods. You should be knowledgeable of and proficient in the use of data analysis packages such as NVivo and SPSS. Good written and verbal communication skills are essential, as is the ability to liaise with members of the project team.
You will be qualified to at least honour’s degree level in a relevant subject (1st, 2.1 or equivalent). Previous appropriate methods training and experience in systematic literature reviews and conducting interviews/surveys is desirable. Good written and verbal communication skills are essential. Proven knowledge of writing for publication would be an advantage.
Closing date: Sunday 12th February 2017
Thursday 30 October 2014, 5.30pm-6.45pm, Oxford Martin School Lecture Theatre, Oxford.
Professor Walter Sinnott-Armstrong
‘Implicit Moral Attitudes’
Most moral philosophers and psychologists focus on explicit moral beliefs that people give as answers to questions. However, much research in social psychology shows that implicit moral attitudes (unconscious beliefs or associations) also affect our thinking and behavior. This talk will report our new psychological and neuroscientific research on implicit moral attitudes (using a process dissociation procedure) and then explore potential implications for scientific moral psychology as well as for philosophical theories of moral epistemology, responsibility, and virtue. If there is time, I will discuss practical uses of these findings in criminal law, especially regarding the treatment of psychopaths and prediction of their recidivism.
Registration is required. Please register at https://bookwhen.com/uehiro
Transforming wrong(s) into right(s): The power of ‘proper medical treatment’
Chancellors Conference Centre, University of Manchester
Thursday 12 September 2013
In this one day seminar, funded by the Wellcome Trust, we seek to explore the notion of something being ‘proper medical treatment’; the medical exception discussed in R v Brown, R v Bland and by the Law Commission in 1994. What renders an activity legitimate when otherwise it would not be? Ignoring the ethics surrounding any particular treatment, what is it about (and why is it that) X but not Y is regarded as proper medical treatment? Are there (and what are the) inherent differences between X and Y which result in this different (formal or informal) categorisation? Do the ethical issues raised by X account for the different categorisation, or are other factors relevant? For example, if a doctor carries out X does this automatically make it proper medical treatment? What role does patient demand have in this regard; are doctors merely to serve the public and their wants and desires, but what then of professional autonomy and clinical judgement? Are the motivations for performing X relevant? Do some medical treatments become accepted as proper through custom and practice and because some doctors feel that they have to do it rather than it being a matter of clinical judgement, a choice?
This seminar aims to promote and facilitate informed debate and discussion via a combination of theoretical papers and case studies in order to explore these issues. Time will be given for facilitated, in-depth, discussion with the participation of a well-informed audience of legal academics, bioethicists, clinicians, regulators and policy-makers.
Professor Margaret Brazier, University of Manchester.
Dr Sara Fovargue, Lancaster University.
Dr Danielle Griffiths, University of Manchester.
Professor Celia Kitzinger, University of York.
Professor Penney Lewis, King’s College London.
Dr Barry Lyons, Trinity College Dublin.
Dr Sheelagh McGuinness, University of Birmingham.
Dr Alexandra Mullock, University of Manchester.
Dr Julian Sheather, British Medical Association.
Dr John Coggon, University of Southampton.
Tracey Elliott, University of Leicester.
Professor Bobbie Farsides, Brighton and Sussex Medical School.
Professor Stephen Wilkinson, Lancaster University.
If you would like to attend this seminar please contact Eileen Jones: e.jones [at] lancaster.ac.uk. Standard rate – £50; PG rate – £20 (10 places).