Neurotechnology to reduce recidivism: Ethical and legal challenges

Gerben Meynen*, Naomi van de Pol, Vera Tesink, Sjors Ligthart

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterProfessional


Crime comes with enormous costs, not only financial but also in terms of loss of mental and physical health
and, in some cases, even loss of life. Recidivism is responsible for a considerable percentage of the crimes,
and therefore, society deems reducing recidivism a priority. To reduce recidivism, several types of interventions can be used, such as education and employment-focused rehabilitation programs which are
intended to improve psychological and social factors. Another way to prevent reoffending is to influence
the offender’s brain functions. For example, medication can be offered to treat delusions or to diminish
sexual drive. In the near future, innovative neurotechnologies are expected to improve prediction and
prevention of reoffending. Potential positive effects of such neurotechniques include a safer society
and earlier release of prisoners who are no longer “at high risk” to relapse into criminal behavior.
Meanwhile, employing these neurotechniques in the criminal justice system raises fundamental concerns,
for example, about autonomy, privacy and mental integrity. This chapter aims to identify some of the
ethical and legal challenges of using neurotechnologies to reduce recidivism
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Clinical Neurology
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9780128213766
ISBN (Print)9780128213759
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sept 2023

Publication series

NameHandbook of Clinical Neurology
ISSN (Print)0072-9752
ISSN (Electronic)2212-4152


  • Autonomy
  • Criminal law
  • Mental integrity
  • Neuroethics
  • Neurolaw
  • Neurotechnology
  • Privacy
  • Recidivism


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