But a tailored mindfulness program may negate the negative impact of imprisonment.
A just-published study finds significant declines in several key areas of cognitive functioning among teenage boys who are doing time. Given that most prisoners eventually return to society, and ex-cons with poor reasoning ability and/or impulse control are unlikely to go straight, this could have widespread negative effects.
“This study provides even more support for the use of alternative methods of punishment, such as drug courts and restorative justice courts,” the researchers write. “Keeping youth out of the system, and protecting them when they are most emotionally and cognitively susceptible to the negative effects of incarceration, may well be the best policy in terms of both efficacy and cost-effectiveness.”