|Judge Bruce Chan, San Francisco Superior Court|
"The idea for San Francisco’s Young Adult Court was first conceived in 2013, when District Attorney George Gascón and then–chief probation officer Wendy Still participated in a criminal justice program at the Harvard Kennedy School. They were inspired by recent research showing that the prefrontal cortex—the part of our brains that manages impulsive decisions, peer pressure, and risk taking—is still rapidly developing until our mid-20s. As a result, the late teenage years and early 20s are the time in life when risky behaviors peak. Rates of unintended pregnancy, binge drinking, and crimes of opportunity are all highest at this age, precisely the time when our legal system says we should know better. While still a relatively recent development in the science world, this matches what most of us already know to be true on a gut level: that 18-to-25-year-olds, while legally adults, don’t always act like them."
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