Mapping the Brain to Predict Antisocial Behaviour: New Frontiers in Neurocriminology,‘New’ Challenges for Criminal Justice
AbstractNeuroscientific research on the relationship between neurobiology and antisocial behaviour has grown exponentially over the last two decades. One of the most intriguing challenges that has started occupying the minds of scientists and legal scholars is the potential use of neuroscience-based methodology to predict future antisocial behaviour in forensic and justice contexts. While neuroprediction holds the promise of adding predictive value to existing risk assessment tools, its hypothetical use for forensic and justice purposes touches on some specific ethical and legal issues, in particular the threat it poses to offenders’ individual rights and civil liberties under the pretext of enhancing public safety. This article provides some arguments for overcoming these concerns. More importantly, it argues that neuroprediction should be viewed as an instrument to help criminal justice integrate current punitive policies and measures with socio-rehabilitative strategies, which could improve the treatment of offenders at risk without threatening their individual rights.