New University of Edinburgh research recommends under-25s should not be sent to jail because their brains are too immature


People under the age of 25 should not be imprisoned because their brains are too immature, the leading author on new research has told EN4 News.

Professor Matthias Schwannauer, who is a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Edinburgh, said in his report, published today, that a custodial sentence heightens the risk for brain damage and makes adolescents less likely to rehabilitate than adults are.

The Scottish Sentencing Council (SSC) has announced a 12-week public consultation into whether under-25s should be imprisoned.

The consultation comes after research conducted by the University of Edinburgh on behalf of the SSC found that there were severe cognitive complications for incarcerating people under the age of 25.

The report found that the adult brain reaches maturity between 25-30 years old, which means it is not able to handle the stressful environment of prison.

“It’s really important for the courts to understand the developmental needs of young people… we need supportive programmes that are community-based,” Schwannauer told EN4 News.

“Putting people in prisons where there is a spike of drug use and self-harm is basically just putting further risk on the individual and their communities.

“I really hope Scotland can path the way to an alternative way in order to reduce future risk and societal cost.”

Support for this review and consultation has been backed by The Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice (CYCJ).

Spokeswoman Charlotte Morris said today that a CYCJ report found that 37% of youngsters are tried in adult court and don’t understand the process.

But Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser argued that there is a lot more work needed before alternatives to prison are considered.

He told EN4 News: “It’s difficult to see how reducing the number of people going to prison for committing serious offences is going to help protect the public or provide an effective deterrent from people in this age group committing very serious crime.”

“I think a lot more work needs to be done before we use community disposals as an alternative to prison for people in this age group,” Fraser concluded.

The SSC said in a statement: “The council’s hope and expectation is that it will bring long-term social and economic benefits,” an SSC statement read, “and by promoting reduced reoffending through greater emphasis on rehabilitation and increased use of the children’s hearings system.”

Edinburgh MP brands Ruth Davidson’s House of Lords nomination “ridiculous”

Former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson’s nomination for a House of Lords peerage has been described as “ridiculous” by an SNP MP.

Tommy Shepard, the MP for Edinburgh West, told EN4 News he believes the House should be abolished.

“It’s ridiculous that people sit in a position of power over others without being accountable and elected,” Shepard told EN4 News.

“It is outrageous that in this country that says it’s a democracy, a majority of the members of [one of our] parliaments are not elected by anyone.”

It was announced on Thursday that Davidson, MSP for Edinburgh Central, had been nominated Prime Minister Boris Johnson alongside former chancellors Ken Clarke and Philip Hammond.

Her constituents have responded in a more mixed manner to the nomination.

Tricia Marwick tweets about Ruth Davidson’s nomination to House of Lords


Willie, speaking to EN4 News, said he supports the appointment despite not personally voting Conservative.

“She is not my party but I think she’s an excellent politician,” he said.

“She is a good asset for the House of Lords.”

Others were not so pleased.

“It is just payment for what she did over the last 5-10 years in Scotland,” Lynsey said.

“I’m a supporter of Scottish Independence and Ruth Davidson was instrumental in trying to fork that and her reward has been a seat in the House of Lords. It is absolutely a front to democracy.”

The former Conservative Leader is set to stand down as an MSP next year at Holyrood’s 2021 election but becoming a peer could mean an earlier departure.

EN4 News took to the Edinburgh streets to canvas opinion


Thank you to all who followed the general election coverage through our website. The Napier News team have enjoyed keeping everyone updated as the polls have been announced.

Tonight’s final summary is that the SNP has a majority over Scotland but the Conservatives are on track to win over the UK.

This will be our last update on the website for now, from what has been an eventful evening.


Conservatives have gained Wrexham with a majority of 45.3%

Conservatives – 15,199

Labour – 16,068

Plaid C – 2,151

Lib Dems – 1,447

Brexit – 1,222


Conservatives have gained Clwyd with a majority with 46.4%.

Conservatives – 17,270

Labour – 15,443

Plaid C – 1,552

Brexit – 1,477

Lib Dems – 1,471

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