One of the central tenants of our criminal justice system is that all actions are made by persons who can be held accountable for their behaviours.
This is the foundation of our belief that actions can be labelled good or bad. They are performed by a comptetant person.
But what if this is not true?
While this can be useful it fails to take into account modern knowledge of nutrition and neurobiology. One of the things that we are now familiar with is that almost any behaviour or congitive failure can be induced by removing nutrients from an animals diet. We can induce paranoia, psychosis, aggression, anxiety, rstlessness, inability to concentrate and even learning difficulites.Recent studies in Jails in the USA have shown that incidence of aggression in jails can be reduced by the addition of appropriate nutrients to the residents diet. These studies have been repeated many times and show that diet can be a driver of cognition and behaviour.What does this mean for the criminal justice system?
The prime implication is that our perceptions of morality and responsibility is showing increasing weaknesses as the foundation of our criminal justice system.
In the Christian bible one of the first injunctions laid on man is to avoid eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Modern neurobiology is increasingly showing that this was good advice! Morality may not be the best foundation of our legal system.
Maybe it is time to take the advice offered in the bible?