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Study Reveals More than Half of Incarcerated NYC Teens Have Suffered a Brain Injury

We all understand just how serious a brain injury can be and how a severe brain injury can cause permanent damage to victims who are injured. When we think of someone who has been left with permanent brain damage from an injury, we usually imagine someone who has been greatly impacted cognitively and/or physically from that brain injury. Many people do not realize that brain injuries can leave permanent damage that is not so visible or easily diagnosed.

In a recent post, our North Carolina injury attorney discussed the high risk of brain injuries teens have from car crashes. But one study conducted by New York researchers raises the question has to just how significant an impact do brain injuries – even minor ones – have on teenagers. 

Brain Injury Study

For the study, researchers surveyed 300 boys and 84 girls who were being held by the New York City juvenile justice criminal division. New York City has the second largest jail system in the country. They targeted this group because it has been well documented that people who have suffered a brain injury often have trouble with decision making and impulse control.

Almost half of the almost 400 teens who filled out the questionnaire reported that they had suffered some sort of traumatic brain injury and had either gone unconsciousness and/or developed amnesia. More than half reported that their injuries were the result of assaults.

Other studies have shown that inmates who have suffered brain injuries have higher instances of substance abuse, breaking prison rules, and struggle with integration into society after being released. Recidivism is high. Statistics that the New York researchers were using revealed that in one year, almost 4,000 teens were taken into custody just in the city’s Rikers Island facility. Almost half were back in custody within a year of being released.

A similar study was conducted in the United Kingdom that revealed that two-thirds of teen inmates suffered from some kind of head trauma. That study also found high recidivism rates.

The team of experts who worked on the study hopes that the results will help establish better understanding and training for correction officers who deal with incarcerated teens. One of the researchers, a brain injury expert at Mount Sinai Hospital said, “You need to train the correction officers to understand brain injuries so that when somebody may be acting rude or answering back or forgetting what they're supposed to do, it's not a sign of maladaptive misbehavior or disrespect, it's a sign of a brain injury.”

Contact a Carolinas Injury Attorney

This study highlights just how serious traumatic brain injuries can be and the permanent damage that can be left. If you or someone in your family has suffered from a brain injury as a result of another party’s negligent action, contact a North Carolina brain injury attorney to discuss what type of civil action you may be able to take against the at-fault party for your pain and losses.

Randall E. Appleton
Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving Va Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake & all of Virginia
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