“Mothers: What Do They Know? And More Importantly, What Don’t They Know?” by Dr. Antoinette Kavanaugh

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Forensic and clinical psychologist Dr. Antoinette Kavanaugh has recently published an interesting new review on her website.

In the post, Dr. Kavanaugh analyzes and breaks down the psychological study from Caitlin Cavanagh and Elizabeth Cauffman titled “What They Don’t Know Can Hurt Them:  Mother’s Legal Knowledge and Youth Re-Offending“.  In their paper, the researchers examined the correlation between the involvement of mothers in their sons’ legal processes, the knowledge of the mothers in such matters, and the rates of re-offending.

Dr. Kavanaugh offers a satisfying and concise review of the data presented in this report.  In one section Kavanaugh writes, “More than half of the mothers also did not understand the expungement process.  The lack of understanding related to court personnel and the court process is something that many parties in the court system ranging from attorneys, to judges, to probation officers should address more efficaciously.”

She later writes, “Attorneys who represent children often describe the lengths they go to in order to get parents to understand how the child is their client, the types of legal decisions the client has to make, and the limits of the parents’ role.  I think it is reasonable to assume the lawyers involved in the cases in this study did this…  Additionally, the level of the mothers’ legal knowledge was also directly related to their sons’ likelihood of reoffending.  The more legal knowledge a mother had, the less likely her son was to reoffend…  Since [the mothers’] lack of understanding impacts public safety because it is associated with youths’ increased recidivism, the judiciary, probation officers, prosecutors and public defenders should want to increase mothers’ legal knowledge and are advised to gauge their knowledge at different points in the legal process.”

You can view Dr. Kavanaugh’s full review on her website here.  Also, please subscribe on the site to receive future posts from Dr. Kavanaugh directly to your inbox!

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