People under the age of 25 should not be jailed because their brains are not fully mature, according to new draft guidelines.
The Scottish Sentencing Council, which produces guidelines for all courts, has launched a 12-week public consultation.
They say a young person’s maturity should be taken into account when assessing their blameworthiness.
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It follows research saying imbalances in brain development explain risk-taking and emotionally driven behaviour which can lead to illegal activity.
The new guidelines say young people have a greater capacity for change and more emphasis should be placed on rehabilitation.
It also calls for more cases to be referred to the children’s hearing system for advice.
The public is being urged to take part in the consultation on the guidelines.
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