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  • The Balanced Voice Team

Ep. 29: Dr. Elizabeth Cauffman | Juvenile Offenders

Updated: Apr 29, 2021

Do you believe juvenile offenders should be treated as adults? What if you knew the part of their brain that regulates impulses does not fully develop until roughly 25? Does that change things? This week on The Balanced Voice Podcast, we sit down with Dr. Elizabeth Cauffman, Professor at the University of California Irvine, whose research is vital to the conversation surrounding the rights and treatment of juvenile offenders. Dr. Cauffman’s research addresses the intersect between adolescent development and juvenile justice. She has published over 100 articles, chapters, and books on topics in the study of contemporary adolescence, adolescent brain development, risk-taking and decision-making, parent-adolescent relationships, and juvenile justice. As a mother herself, Dr. Cauffman approaches conversations about these incredibly challenging topics with clarity and compassion.

In today’s balanced conversation we ultimately answer this question:

Can juvenile offenders stop offending and become healthy members of society?

More about Dr. Elizabeth Cauffman:

Elizabeth Cauffman is a Professor in the Department of Psychological Science in the School of Social Ecology and holds courtesy appointments in the School of Education and the School of Law. Dr. Cauffman received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from Temple University and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Center on Adolescence at Stanford University. At the broadest level, Dr. Cauffman’s research addresses the intersect between adolescent development and juvenile justice. Findings from Dr. Cauffman’s research were incorporated into the American Psychological Association’s amicus briefs submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court in Roper v. Simmons, which abolished the juvenile death penalty, and in both Graham v. Florida and Miller v. Alabama, which placed limits on the use of life without parole as a sentence for juveniles. As part of her larger efforts to help research inform practice and policy, she served as a member of the MacArthur Foundation’s Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice as well as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Committee on the Neurobiological and Socio-behavioral Science of Adolescent Development and Its Applications. Dr. Cauffman currently directs the Center for Psychology & Law ( as well as the Masters in Legal & Forensic Psychology program ( at UCI.

Twitter: @EECauffman


Resources & Links:

In this episode Rania and Dr. Cauffman discuss, Miller, the supreme court case that abolished prison sentences of life without the possibility of parole for juvenile offenders. Just minutes after we finished filming this episode, the 2012 decision in Miller was altered via the supreme court findings in Jones v Mississippi. You can read the case by clicking on the image below.

What do you think? Should juveniles who commit homicide be eligible for sentences of life without the possibility of parole?

Thank you for following along with The Balanced Voice. The views expressed in each episode are those of the podcast guest and do not necessarily represent the views of The Balanced Voice or Crime Stoppers of Houston.

Thank you to our Episode 29 Sponsors, Brigitte and Bashar Kalai, Hallie Vanderhider, Sippi and Ajay Khurana, and Deep Water Productions.


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