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A comprehensive review of all literature on brain injury and criminal activity by a group of experts from five leading universities suggests that up to 60% of the UK’s prison population have had some kind of head injury, whether mild or severe, often in addition to other traumas in their lives; the head injury might have fuelled their offending and, if unrecognised or left untreated, could lead to re-offending.

The study’s authors say that helping prisoners receive proper treatment could prevent future offending. They also called on schools, doctors and hospitals to help to identify young people who have suffered head injuries before they commit crime as repeated head injuries early in life have been associated with an increased risk of offending and other difficulties including poor mental health.

Whilst head injuries are believed to damage those parts of the brain responsible for such behaviours as self-regulation, impulse control anger, other experts are keen to point out that brain injury is just one risk factor amongst very many that may lead to crime, and that most people who sustain head injuries do not go on to develop criminal behaviour.

The comprehensive review was published in February 2018 in The Lancet Psychiatry. (Subscription only).

Source article: The Telegraph, 26 February 2018

For further information about how the criminal justice system deals with people affected by brain injury, see this edition of our Brain Injury News magazine.

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