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Elizabeth S. Scott

Elizabeth Scott teaches and writes about family law, juvenile justice, criminal law, and children and the law. In her work, she applies empirical social science research, development theory, and behavior economics to legal policy issues involving children and families. She has been involved in conducting major empirical research studies on adolescent involvement in the justice system.

Since 2015, Scott has served as lead reporter of the American Law Institute’s Restatement on Law, Children and the Law, a multi-year project that examines the legal regulation of children rather than solely with family law matters. In 2008, she co-authored with Laurence Steinberh Rethinking Juvenile Justice, a book that offers a new developmental framework for juvenile justice policy. It was named best book of 2010 by the Society for Research on Adolescence.

Earlier in her career, Scott was a member for 10 years of the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice, which conducted studies on adolescents’ competence to stand trial, juvenile offenders’ desistance from criminal activity, and public attitudes toward youthful culpability.

Courts and legislatures have recognized for a long time that juveniles are particularly vulnerable in the context of police interrogation, that they don’t understand their Miranda rights as well as adults do, and that they’re particularly vulnerable to coercive tactics that are standard police tactics for inducing confessions.