Future Criminal? Maybe We Should Screen Kids' Brains

It's a dicey proposal, but it could help: Slate essayist
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 17, 2012 1:55 PM CDT
Stock photo of brain X-rays.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – A Slate essay today raises an intriguing question: Should we screen the brains of kids to look for genetic markers suggesting they'll turn into violent criminals? The idea would be to identify the kids and provide behavioral help before it's too late, writes Gary Marchant. Science is close to making this possible—mutations in the MAOA gene, for example, look to be an early warning sign—which means it's time to start considering all the ramifications. (Will the stigma do more harm than good, for instance.)

"This is not a Minority Report-like future in which would-be criminals are caught and arrested before committing their crimes, but rather using new technology to identify at-risk kids and treat them before they inflict irreparable damage on themselves and others," writes Marchant. Done right, we might just reduce the number of criminals, and victims, in the future. Read the full essay here. (Read more genetic testing stories.)

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