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Wed, Nov 18

Carson’s youthful change is a common course

In the race to the White House, the 1990 autobiography of presidential hopeful Dr. Ben Carson has been uncovered. Carson details a violent adolescent period that he recovered from through his relationship with God. Perhaps Carson did have an epiphany, but, as a criminologist, I can say that he probably would have gone on the straight-and-narrow regardless.

What we’ve discovered in the field of criminology is that teens go through a rough spot in which they act out, which is no surprise to any parent. What may be surprising is “acting out” can include a lot of serious criminal behavior including assault, robbery and auto theft. Studies from the United States, Great Britain, New Zealand and Sweden agree that nearly everyone engages in some kind of criminal behavior by the time they reach 18. Criminal behavior is much more the norm than the exception.

Read more of this editorial from Duke Science Communication Fellow Amber Beckley in the News & Observer.