Journal of Forensic Research

ISSN: 2157-7145

Open Access

Perceptions of Traumatic Brain Injury among Public Defenders in the State of Minnesota


Jerrod Jerrod and Jeffrey P Louie

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when an external blow to the head causes a disruption in the normal functioning of the brain. Injuries such as these not only increase the risk of involvement with the criminal justice system for the individual, but also may make it more difficult to navigate within the legal system. Unfortunately, public defenders may not be familiar with the challenges of TBI their clients face. The aim of this study is to explore the familiarity of public defenders with the signs and symptoms of TBI. Additionally, the study investigates the degree to which public defenders recognize the prevalence and impacts of TBI in the legal system. The study consisted of a 14-item electronic survey distributed to all public defenders in Minnesota. Results found that public defenders varied widely in their familiarity with TBI’s symptoms, prevalence, and impacts in the legal system. Although the majority of respondents had not received any advanced training on TBI, most believed such training would be beneficial for their clients. This study clearly shows a need for more training on cognitive, memory, and behavioural impairments experienced by defendants who have been impacted by TBI


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