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Link exists between brain injury and teen incarceration

Brain injuries can affect people of all ages. However, teenagers -- whose brains are still developing -- are particularly vulnerable to the effects of this type of injury. A brain injury certainly can affect a young person's ability to remember information and deal with emotions properly, but it may also alter a person's behavior and cause him or her to get into trouble in West Virginia.

A new study shows that half of teenagers who are 16 to 18 years old suffered a brain injury before becoming incarcerated. This information reveals the reality of behavioral changes that can stem from this type of injury. People whose brains are harmed in an accident may be more impulsive and process information more slowly. These types of changes in behavior appear to be more common among people who suffer brain injuries at younger ages.

These issues increase a person's chances of being arrested, but they also might negatively impact the effectiveness of a jailed person's treatment. In addition, it could boost their chances of returning to the jail system after they have been released. People who have suffered injuries are also more prone to using drugs.

A brain injury happens when a person strikes his or her head against a hard object. This often takes place in a sudden vehicle accident, but it also can occur if a person is involved in an explosion or some other incident for which another person is responsible. An individual who has suffered as a result of another person's negligence may elect to file a personal injury claim, seeking financial damages to help with lost wages, ongoing medical expenses and other losses resulting from the incident. To prevail, liability needs to be established according to our West Virginia personal injury laws before a civil court in our state will consider specific items of financial damages claimed to have been sustained.

Source: thinkprogress.org, "Half of New York City Teens Behind Bars Have A Brain Injury, Study Finds", Nicole Flatow, April 19, 2014

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