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When Nature and Nurture Collide


When Nature and Nurture Collide book jacket View Table of Contents and Introductory Material
ISBN978-1-61163-500-3
e-ISBN978-1-53100-938-0

When Nature and Nurture Collide

Early Childhood Trauma, Adult Crime, and the Limits of Criminal Law

by Theodore Y. Blumoff

2014 $48.00 318 pp paper

Tags: Psychology and Law

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Blumoff, who is trained in psychology and law, has spent the last decade trying to bring population-wide observations from the brain sciences to the jurisprudence of criminal law, thus producing a better model of human behavior for understanding criminal misconduct. This work examines the neuropsychological injuries suffered by seriously abused and neglected children, towards an explanation for why those children produce children who tend to abuse and neglect their own children and sometimes others. This is just a brute social fact. The book is structured in three parts, Part I engages the science of child development. Part II addresses the jurisprudence of substantive criminal law, which is still mired in the dualism and formalism of a much earlier era that largely neglects the actor’s biography. Part III speaks to anticipated objections and proposals for change. The work ends by drawing on the work of the philosopher John Rawls’s well known “Original Position,” a thought experiment on the treatment of damaged children.

This book should be of interest to anyone who teaches criminal law and procedure or is involved in the administration of criminal justice, including those individuals who provide social services to the incarcerated. It could be an assigned text in a law and psychiatry course or a criminal law or jurisprudence seminar. This book is also useful for students and teachers in specialized post-graduate criminology programs, federal and state law enforcement agencies that profile offenders, specialists in the jurisprudence of punishment, and some upper-division courses in criminal justice.


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